Bagan entertainment dancers/artists Nandi Yard and Amory Holder aka Spinney visited the Cayman Islands for the first time last weekend. When the luxury boutique hotel, Palm Heights, reached out to Nandi, offering to host the 39-year-old Patapano’s Carnival celebrations in Cayman, Nandi said, “I had to make it happen and Spinny was the perfect companion.”
Nandi, who boasts 101k followers on Instagram, whose bio as a professional social dancer includes working as a dancer for Michele Montano over the past few years, including at the recent Millais celebrations in Cancun Mexico, and being part of Barbados. – The Redeem Tribe dancers, participated in the Jamaican Carnival, Trinidad Carnival, Miami Carnival, Boston Carnival, and the Caribana in Toronto.
Nandy said the Cayman Islands National Carnival “did not disappoint,” noting the fun experienced by costumers and spectators alike, as well as the diversity of countries represented in the Cayman Islands, where they showed off their culture.
Nandi said she felt national pride hearing soca music from Barbados on the road.
“Sokka always brings us together,” she said.
“Wuk-up artist,” artist and fitness trainer Spinney, who has participated in festivals like New York Labor Day, Trinidad Carnival, Notting Hill Carnival and Miami Carnival, referred to Patapano as “epic.”
“It was a positive vibe,” he said of Patapano. “I honestly didn’t know what to expect but had a great time and could see this carnival turn into something massive.”
When asked how the Patapano compares to the Cadoment in Barbados, the artists emphasized that it would be difficult to compare the larger and more popular festival in Barbados to the smaller event in Cayman, but they enjoyed the unique Patapano atmosphere, “personal contact” with the revelers and said they had a blast on the road.
“My cadument loved me,” said Spinney of Barbados’ Grand Cadument Day on August 1 of this year. “This year is my first year as a band leader with Khepri Kulture and I am very excited about it.”
While Spinney and Nandy were having a great time in Patapano and during their stay in Palm Heights, their busy schedules brought them back to Cayman Airlines within 24 hours of the event.
Spinny is back home in Barbados to get ready for his first-ever birthday party, “Stained with Spinny,” a paint-and-strength style board, and has begun making plans for a range of Crop Over activities.
Spinny will also continue his “cultural cardio” or what he refers to as his “fitness class” that has taken him to the world stage, winning Fitness Coach of the Year for the past two years at the Barbados Gine On Awards.
“The sessions are called ‘Spin Pooch with Spinny,'” Spinny says, about the classes he describes as the perfect setting to get ready for Carnival.
“I hope to be back at some point to introduce the Cayman to sessions,” Spinney said. “You can look for me at Crop Over, New York for Labor Day, and London for Notting Hill Carnival.”
Nandi is also back in Barbados to get back to her usual hustle and bustle by traveling in and out of the island for a busy schedule of lessons and gigs. After settling down to teach locally, you’ll head to the US to lead a series of lessons called “wukshop,” a Caribbean dance class that explains how to wake up, includes a dance routine and soca workout burnout.
“I take the opportunity to showcase real things to Barbados culture like the talk/landship band and interschool sports,” explains Nandy. “I’ve taught these classes in St. Lucia, Trinidad, Cancun, New York, Boston, Florida to name a few. I’m working to share my culture with the wider world.”
Nandy is also set to join Machel on his upcoming tour through several cities in the US, and hopes to add more destinations and shows with other top artists, like Rihanna, to her career roster.
In addition to working as a professional dancer (specializing in soca and other genres) Nandi is active in a number of fields, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Biochemistry.
“Because all these pieces make up who I am, in addition to turning ‘wuk up’ into a flag, I am often referred to as ‘Wuk Up World’ or ‘Minister of Waist Affairs’,” Nandi laughs.
And sadly, all good things must come to an end, but the duo definitely made their mark on the Cayman Hotel and Palm Heights, and vice versa.
“We want to extend a very special thank you to Palm Heights Hotel for facilitating this experience,” said Nandi and Spinney. “They are very keen to support creators from the Caribbean and so, they brought a group of dancers/creators to Cayman Carnival. They made sure we felt right at home. We didn’t have to worry about anything! They took care of us in a way we will be forever grateful for” .