Co-Founder and Co-Director of National Institute of Arts
Introduction to Dance
Clara Reyes was born on Curacao, but raised on the island of St .Maarten.
From the age of three, Ms. Reyes, guided by a dedicated and committed artistic mother, has always been immersed in the world of the visual and performing arts. After many years of training and exposure to its different forms; including dance, visual arts, photography, film, musicals, drama and storytelling, this immersion materialized into one quest; which was to make the arts her calling.
Starting with competitive gymnastics at the age of 8 in Switzerland, and later graduating to dance on the island of St. Maarten under the direction of Lenore Hensley and May Green, Ms. Reyes began what was to become a lifelong journey into the arts.
Currently Ms. Reyes holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance and Choreography with specialization in dance in education ages K through 12 grades. She considers herself a Griot , and cultural worker and has done much research into St. Maarten’s traditional dance and culture, even resurrecting the Ponum Dance, which was first spontaneously danced at emancipation 1848 on the Island of St.Maarten
Ms. Reyes is a certified Somatic movement’s practitioner, holds a Diploma in Dance Theatre Production from Edna Manley College for Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica and is a former student at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Merce Cunningham Dance Studio. Additionally, Ms. Reyes was as a Teacher and performing artist with Committed Artist in South Africa.
Ms. Reyes career includes being head of Department of Creative Artistic Formation at the St.Maarten Academy Vocational Section, teacher at St. Maarten Academy, Academic Section ,part-time lecturer of Humanities at the University of St. Maarten, Performing Arts /Dance Instructor at the Learning Unlimited Preparatory School, and Teacher at The Charlotte Brookson Academy for the Performing Arts.
Her awards include Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary of St. Maarten, The Outstanding Young Person of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Junior Jaycees Award, Conscious Lyrics Personality of the Year Award, and most recently being decorated by her Majesty Queen Beatrix.
Ms. Reyes is also a certified yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance and Inner Harmony Yoga.
Since her return to St. Maarten in the summer of 2003, and since opening its doors, Ms. Reyes through her foundation Imbali has produced and continues to produce a vast amount of creative work.
Her talents as an Educator, Director and Choreographer has enabled Ms. Reyes to create a body of work that is diverse and all encompassing, ranging from children productions, reviving dormant cultural traditions, tackling current events such as the pandemic of HIV and AIDS, Women’s issues and Sexuality. Some of her highlight include Choreographer to Kingdom Games Opening Ceremony St.Maarten and Curacao as well Choreographer and Creative Director for 2 of her Majesty Queen Beatrix Visits to St.Maarten.
Through her dance school and her numerous teaching engagements and community out reach service, Ms. Reyes works diligently to expose her audience, and students to the world of the arts and artistry.
The arts offer healing, transformation and wholeness that enables us to find deeper meaning and richness in our existence.
Today Ms. Reyes is co-Founder and Co-Director with Ms. Arlene Halley of the National Institute of Arts in St.Maarten.