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848_popcornHans Minnaert: The creative force behind Forget the Popcorn

Social media has been abuzz lately with the spectacular and must-see show "Forget the Popcorn". The unique production featuring some of St. Maarten's best performers continues at Philipsburg Cultural Centre this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and on Sunday with a matinee performance at 4:00pm and a regular show at 7:30pm. Tickets cost US $20 and are available at Van Dorp, Pete's Photo, National Institute of Arts, Atypique (Marigot), Video Club (Hope Estate); Temps Danse Academie (Orient Bay) and Pelican.

Out N About spoke to the creative force behind the show Hans Minnaert.

Minnaert lives and breathes art. He believes his calling is to share his knowledge. He was born in the Netherlands. In 1991, he did a six-week tour of the Caribbean with International Dance Theatre of Amsterdam. He fell "completely in love" with St. Maarten and decided to relocate here. Minnaert was trained as a dancer at International Dance Theatre in Amsterdam and as a musician at the Conservatory in Bucharest, Romania. He discovered his love for the arts at age 12. "I saw a show with dancers and musicians in Amsterdam and at that moment decided I wanted to be a dancer and musician. Art has made me who I am now today and I'm grateful for arts. The whole process of making art is the reason why I live."

What inspired Forget the Popcorn?

Head Made Factory, an organisation in French St. Martin, which represents artists and organises events, asked me last year to create and direct a show with Peggy Oulerich. The goals were to create a show using the talent available in St. Maarten/St. Martin and to give talented persons who want to pursue a professional career the experience to work with professionals: Professional choreographer, director and using professional techniques.

What did it take to put on a production of this magnitude?

It took a lot of organisation and energy from the artistic team, the technical team, all the performers and their parents. We worked for many months on this show.

You've been saying it's a secret all along. What's the show about?

Forget the Popcorn tells the tale of the quest of a young person dreaming of success and glory. I think everyone has this kind of dream; I still have such dreams.

Why should everyone come out to watch this show?

Everyone should attend to support the youth and the talents on the island, and I really mean this. The second reason is that the performers are doing a great job. For now, the people who saw the show were completely amazed and the reactions were "wow!".

Challenges encountered putting on the production?

The technical aspects (to create a show with the style of lights and video used along with the intrigue of dancers) were a huge challenge.

How can the arts be improved in St. Martin/St Maarten?

St. Maarten is on the right track. I was able to contribute and give my knowledge to help Arlene Halley and Clara Reyes to create National Institute of Arts; Nicole de Weever with Arts Saves Lives; Urmain Dormoy with his drum band and Dance Theatre of St. Maarten's Susha Hein and Inhdira Marlin. I still believe there is a lot of work still to be done. So to St. Maarten, I say, "Go for it and 'Forget the Popcorn'."

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