Young people empowered through dance
Eight students from the KHULCHA Dance School, located in Mandeville, recently joined 37 students from the Edna Manley College and the Campion College Dance Programme to participate in the 13th staging of the Dance and the Child International (daCi) Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
According to the national representative for daCi and the founder of KHULCHA Dance School, Carolyn Russell- Smith, the five-day conference, themed 'Twist and Twin Identity', saw thousands of young people across the world being empowered through the arts.
"It's all about empowerment and highlighting the work of young people around the world, sharing cultures, improvisation and expressing this through the arts ... the conference entailed dance workshops for the kids, forums, where young people were able to voice their concerns and views about dance, and workshops which included talk-back sessions and reading of papers, which provided much insight ."
Though no prizes were awarded for the pieces presented, the Jamaican dancers received much commendation for creativity and execution.
"We were well received and as Caribbean people, the other countries had high expectations of us and we did not disappoint. It was all in the applause ... the programme was excellent in terms of having the children learn to think on their feet and gaining a sense of responsibility," Russell-Smith told Rural Xpress.
Desire to return
A student from KHULCHA, Shola Ismail, was more than happy for the experience and expressed her wish to return.
"I had a great time, the environment was beautiful and warm and I learnt a lot. There are so many things that I know now that I didn't know before. The cultures are so different yet so interesting, and I would definitely want to go back."
In addition to having teachers exposed to different genres of music and dance, the book Dance Education around the World: Perspectives of Dance Young People and Change was launched.
Having written a chapter in the book Teaching For Better Lives, Russell-Smith has officially handed a copy over to the Edna Manley College Library, so those interested can be enlightened.