Shakeena for Jazz & Arts Dance Tribute
Meet Shakeena President-Beckford. One of the Saint Lucian dancers who will be paying tribute to the late Virginia Alexander in the Cultural Icons Series as part of the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival for 2016.
Shakeena was born on the island of Saint Lucia, daughter of one of Saint Lucia's prolific dynamic dance duos, Ikeal Francis and Carol Ika President.
Shakeena has been dancing since the age of four and credits her parents for her natural dance ability. She has performed throughout the Caribbean particularly with the Les Enfants dance troupe, which was formed by the late iconic dance instructor and cultural activists Virginia Alexander or Auntie Virgie, as she was affectionately known. In 1972, ‘Auntie Virgie’, formed the Les Enfants Dance Troupe and over the years produced a core crop of Saint Lucian dancers who have themselves passed on these skills to other generations.
Shakeena was a proud member of Les Enfants until the age of 14 when she moved to Chicago, Illinois. Since then, she has studied ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop and West African dance. She has also danced for the Prime Minister of Senegal, personal secretary to the late great Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. (Chicago office) and just recently opened for the Lion King dancers at Ruth Page Dance Center for A Gift of Warmth Celebration.
The multi talented Saint Lucian has also won a few pageants and painted murals at Colleges and churches.
Currently, Shakeena is the Assistant Artistic Director of Nunufatima dance company, a non-profit performing arts organization in Chicago, Illinois. She is also a certified Aerobics Instructor, Artist/Painter and Hair stylist. She often reminds herself that the race is not for the swift but to those who can endure till the end.