Considering his work as a language teacher, drum instructor, dancer, singer, musician, and as a former police constable in his native Belize, it is fair to say that Dale Aranda has been busy doing what he loves for the most part of his 44 years.
Aranda was born June 17, 1970, in the coastal town of Dangriga, a Garifuna word often translated as “sweet water”. The town is the largest in southern Belize, and it’s the capital of the Stann Creek District. It is also the cultural center of the Garinagu people. Garinagu or Garifuna, are the descendants of Arawak and Carib Indians and African slaves who settled in the southern coast of Belize in the early 19th century. Their history of endurance and perseverance dates back to the beginning of the 17th century in the island of St. Vincent.
Preserving his Garifuna culture has been a driving force in Aranda’s work, so after 13 years in the Belize Police Department, he left the department and joined the Ugundani (happiness) Dance Group. He later became an international performer with the Belize National Dance Company and toured France, Italy, several cities in Mexico, and performed twice in Jaca, Spain, for the 35th and 39th Pyrenees Festival.
A need to expand his horizons took Aranda to Los Angeles, California where he has worked as a Garifuna language teacher, drum instructor, and as a dancer with the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United. He is an active member in the local Garifuna community where he volunteers as a drumming teacher for the children at St. Raphael Church, and continues to be busy doing what he loves as a member of the Village Voices Choir, the Iseiri Isanigu Cultural Group, and the Lidan Aban Culture Band.