By RON FANFAIR
Sharlene Jn-Baptiste got more than she catered for at the annual St. Lucia Family Day picnic last August.
Expecting to have a good time with family and friends, which she did, the married mother of two children was encouraged to take part in last Saturday night’s second annual Madam Wob Dwiyet creole competition at the Latvian Canadian Cultural Centre.
Jn-Baptiste, an airline passenger service agent, accepted the challenge and emerged victorious.
“It’s something that I had never done before, so I decided to give it a try,” she said. “Putting on a wob dress for the first time felt good and it was inspiring to be among a great group of women. I had some stage fright as it was the first time I had done anything like that in front of an audience, but I had the support of family and friends and that helped to get me through the competition.”
Dominicans Sheryl Barnett, who captured the Best Talent individual title and Dianne James – a Canadian resident for over four decades – were the first and second runners-up, respectively.
“Learning the dance steps and moves were quite exciting and lots of fun,” said James.
St. Lucians Melissa Joseph and Uhanna Obaizamomwan and Dominican Ursula Winston were the other contestants in the event titled “St. Lucia meets Dominica”.
The Wob Dwiyet is a style of ladies dress that emerged in the French West Indies towards the end of the 18th century and its design is believed to have originated in southern France, where women at the time wore a similar outfit.
The dress, considered a significant aspect of Dominica’s colonial heritage that is usually worn on special occasions, comprises a long petticoat made of cotton or satin and decorated with rows of lace ribbon, a full length outer dress with a trail and narrow sleeves that extend to the wrists, a scarf and a folded headpiece that’s decorated to suit the wearer’s taste.