Sha­keena for Jazz & Arts Dance Trib­ute

The Star (St. Lucia) - Life Begins 2 Nite - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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