The excitement at the annual Carnival Calabar went up a few notches on Friday night through Saturday morning as bands from different countries took centre stage at the International Carnival Calabar.
Performers from across the globe thrilled the audience at the full capacity U.J. Esuene International Stadium, with each unique performance exciting the boisterous crowd in different ways.
There were cultural dances from Ukraine, Mexico and Ethiopia, acrobats from Senegal, Croatia and Kenya, as well as flag twirlers from Italy.
France was also represented by a colourful dance troupe while Lithuania stole the show at a point, with two fire performers wowing the audience with their fearless display with flames and fireworks.
There was a team from the US supported by representation from neighbouring Caribbean nations like Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and many more.
Numerous African countries were represented through ensembles who brought a lot of traditional dances under the lights of the stadium to entertain as well as educate on each country’s history.
Tanzania, Kenya and Swaziland were some of them, and South Africa with two different sets of performers displayed energetic Zulu war dances.
The Ghanaians were especially engaging, with a combination of female dancers and drummers, and male acrobats and magicians.
The affinity between Calabar and Brazil was again on display as a masterfully costumed Brazilian band kept the audience on the edge of their seats with a combination of music, dance and acting.
Despite the fact that Brazil’s representation came from the city of Rio de Janeiro, rather than the previous performers who came from Sao Paulo, they still kept the audience engrossed and ended up winners of the competition with 790 points.
This partially due to a brilliant enactment of Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines dance, acrobatics and music, developed mainly by African slaves in the 16th century.
South Africa were second with 757 points while Ghana came third with 742.
The International Carnival was the climax of a series of activities that attracted more than a million revellers over the previous few days in what the Carnival Comission described as an unprecedented shutdown of the city.
Speaking on the theme of the 2017 Carnival which is Migration, Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade, said Africa is the future and encouraged the youth to “put an end to migration, and should rather come to Calabar as we have provisions for jobs and have created opportunities as politicians and people in government, for you to have good jobs so that you can stay back here.”
Ayade maintained that African leaders have a responsibility to reverse the trend of migration.
Continuing, the governor intimated that “this year’s carnival is not just about dancing and celebrating, but telling a very painful and sorrowful story as it relates to migration,” adding that “in due time Africa will rule the world.”