UWI 10-day dance workshop for students

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Members of the UWI St Augustine campus’ Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA) perform a dance routine at an event.

The Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA) Dance Unit at UWI, St Augustine campus will be hosting a comprehensive ten-day dance workshop for secondary school students.

It will feature a blend of local and regional dance instruction.

Deboleena Paul, co-ordinator and lecturer at the dance unit, said diverse dance forms such as bélé, limbo, bongo, quadrille, kolattam, and nation dance will be explored, reflecting the rich cultural tapestry of the region.

A press release said while the primary target audience comprises secondary school students in forms three to five, applicants outside this age range are also welcome.

“This workshop’s mission is to reconnect youths with their local and diasporic cultures through dance, countering prevailing trends dominated by pop or Hollywood styles,” Paul said.

Instructors specialising in various dance styles will provide comprehensive training, encompassing theoretical understanding, practical skills, and performance techniques to uphold authenticity.

Notably, the workshop boasts the involvement of Bélé Queen and president of the National Dance Association Emelda Lynch-Griffith, among its instructors.

Paul said she was enthused by this collaboration, highlighting the expertise and influence Lynch-Griffith brings to the programme.

The workshop will be divided into two parts, with a break scheduled for the Easter weekend.

It begins on March 23 and concludes on April 5, with a break from March 29 to April 1. There will be a showcase to celebrate the participants’ achievements. Each day, sessions will run from 10 am to 12 noon, allowing ample time for engagement and practice.

To facilitate broad participation, the registration fee for the entire workshop and showcase is set at $60.

Asked about the workshop’s target audience, Paul said, “The DCFA offers a dance and education certificate programme for students fresh out of secondary school and available upon the completion of CSE C exams.

“This programme is a gateway to the dance degree programme offered through the DCFA. The workshop can be considered as a precursor to the certificate programme.”

The workshop, she added, epitomises the DCFA’s dedication to fostering cultural pride, artistic excellence, and educational opportunities within the community, ensuring a vibrant and inclusive platform for the next generation of dancers to flourish.