Members of the Junior BVI Heritage Dancers perform last month during the Leeward Islands Debating Competition at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The group was formed to interest young people in traditional dancing, according to found Eileene Parsons. (Photo: NGOVOU GYANG)

“One, two, three: Let’s go,” Heather Butcher commanded the female members of the BVI Junior Heritage Dancers on Sunday at the St. George’s Episcopal Church Hall.

Fungi music blared from a small radio on a window as the girls moved and responded to her instructions.

“Heads up! Don’t look down,” ordered Ms. Butcher, the coordinator of the group.

As the barefoot girls practised, boys stood outside waiting for their turn. Then they joined in, forming couples.

The group was formed more than nine years ago as a counterpart to the adult BVI Heritage Dancers, according to Ms. Butcher. It performs at various events, such as the recent Leeward Islands Debating Competition, as a way to share Virgin Islands culture.

Eileene Parsons, founder of the adult group, conceived the idea of involving youths. “The objective was to teach young people how to perform the local dances,” Ms. Parsons said. “When we move on, they should be able to keep the tradition going.”

See the March 31, 2011 edition for full coverage.