Carnival in Kings! Bed-Stuy dance studio celebrates pre-Easter fest with annual show

Deinya Phenix, conductor of the Batala New York drum group, performs during the Carnival celebration at Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance on March 2.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

They didn’t stop the Carnival!

Spirited young students at a Bedford-Stuyvesant dance studio got their groove on this month at the company’s performance honoring the annual Carnival festival that many Christian cultures celebrate to mark the start of Lent.

The pint-sized performers showcased their moves after spending months perfecting their action-packed routines, according to the executive director of the Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance.

“There’s so much vitality in this form of dance, and the crowd could see the hard work that was poured by each one of our students,” said Jimena Martinez.

The March 2 Carnaval, Kanaval, Carnival event — a performance the Fulton Street studio stages each year — paid homage to the nine-day Carinval festival celebrated from March 1 through 9 to mark the start of Lent, the 40-day period of abstinence and fasting observed by many Christian churches ahead of Easter.

The show also included performances by Cumbe Center teachers, percussionists, and guest dancers, and featured styles from such places that celebrate Carnival as Brazil, Haiti, and Puerto Rico, Martinez said.

“It was an event to explore a variety of cultures, and how different people around the world celebrate Carnival,” she said. “There’s so much diversity to be celebrated.”

Dancers show off their moves during the Carnival celebration.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

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