It’s hard to imagine anything being free in generally ultra-touristy Charlotte Amalie. Even more surprising would be something free that also gets you fully in-tune with local Virgin Islands culture.
Just such a free and imminently rewarding experience can be had each and every Friday evening at Emancipation Gardens in downtown Charlotte Amalie. It’s here that you, or any other culturally curious traveler, can learn to dance Quadrille.
The traditional dance of the Virgin Islands, Quadrille originated in France in the 1700s, eventually landing in what was then the Danish West Indies after gaining popularity in England.
Back then, the dance primarily served as entertainment on the sugar plantations. Today, it’s a colorfully expressive reminder of the past reserved mostly for local holidays celebrating our heritage and other special occasions.
For the Mungo Niles Cultural Dancers in St. Thomas, though, Quadrille is a weekly thing; one that they’re keen to share with anyone and everyone.
To join in the fun, just show up at Emancipation Gardens in downtown Charlottle Amalie on Fridays between 8pm and 10pm… And bring your dancing shoes!
Photo credit: Great UC fan and proud Virgin Islander, Chantel Hoheb