Congrats to Shemika Charles, who is now the Guinness World Record holder in limbo. Sheshimmied under a bar that was only 8.5 inches from the ground, and watching her makes our ankles ache. Shemika Charles, the 18-year-old Trinidadian national living in Buffalo, New York, danced under a bar 8.5 inches (21.5 cm) from the ground on the set of American morning show Live! with Regis and Kelly – setting the new world record for the Lowest Limbo by a woman.
Limbo is a traditional popular dance contest that originated on the island of Trinidad. The dance originated as an event that took place at wakes inTrinidad and Tobago, and was popularized by dance pioneer Julia Edwards (known as the First Lady of Limbo) and her company which appeared in several films, in particular Fire Down Below (1957), and toured widely in the Caribbean, Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa in the 1960s and beyond. A film, Julia and Joyce, was released in 2010 by Trinidadian/American dance researcher/choreographer Sonja Dumas which features the evolution of the Limbo and the contribution of Julia Edwards to the explosion of its popularity.
A horizontal bar, known as the limbo bar, is placed atop two vertical bars. All contestants must attempt to go under the bar with their backs facing the floor. Whoever knocks the bar off or falls is eliminated from the contest. After everyone has completed their turns, the bar is lowered slightly and the contest continues. The contest ends when only one person can successfully “limbo” under the bar.
Shemika said it took a lot of training to get to this point. She practiced four times a day during the summer.
“It’s very different and people are more willing to accept something they haven’t seen before. I would like to limbo as long as I can but you can only limbo for so long. I can’t limbo when I’m 50 or 60 but I’d like to limbo for as long as I can,” Charles said.
She also limbo dances around Western New York with her family’s band called Caribbean Extravaganza. Charles accomplished the feat to steelpan music performed by her mother Sherry Charles.
According to international reports, Charles, after accomplishing the feat, said she had been waiting for the opportunity to have her name written in the Guinness Book of World Records for the Lowest Limbo by a woman for quite some time. She said the waiting period had been tough but since establishing the record it was all worth it.
Charles left Trinidad at the age of eight for the United States with her family, and had been doing the limbo dance for the past four years. She is a pupil of the Cardina Ohara High School in Buffalo, and is also a singer and dancer in a group called Caribbean Extravaganza.