Dedicated, benevolent, but feisty. Those were some of the traits that characterised Dotlyn Joyce Campbell.
Campbell, a founding member and former principal of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), died on Wednesday after ailing for the past year. Professor Rex Nettleford, who shared many stages with Campbell, said her commitment was unconditional.
"She was devoted and very loyal to the arts," said Nettleford. "No matter where in the island she was having a workshop, she would make sure to get back to Kingston in time for rehearsals."
Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, hailed Campbell's four decades of service to the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), where she was a veteran dance officer.
"Miss Campbell did not merely work at the JCDC, she lived its mandate and its principles, embodying the concept of service to her fellow citizens through the love and loyalty of her heart," said Grange. "Her vision has been critical to the ways in which the indigenous styles of Jamaican dance have been perpetuated from generation to generation."
Campbell was the founder, and for three decades, director of the Jayteens Dance Workshop, which contributed seminally to the development of dance theatre in Jamaica throughout the 1960s and 1970s. A Musgrave medallist, she was a dominant influence and advocate of community dance and she did annual tours of festival winners to North America from the mid 1980s. She conducted workshops in traditional dance throughout Jamaica, bringing to the concert stage kumina, dinki-mini, maypole and quadrille. She was a forerunner to the work of folk singing groups, which followed her field work in rural Jamaica in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
A veteran dance performer, she started with the pioneer Ivy Baxter Creative Dance Group of the 1950s and followed through to the NDTC as a founding member in 1962. She toured throughout the world with the NDTC, appearing in Australia, the Soviet Union, Germany and Finland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, as well as in Latin America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Caribbean.
commitment and loyalty
In her work with the JCDC, Campbell inspired, way past retirement, young adults and others to maintain an interest in the traditional dance-lore of Jamaica. Her commitment, discipline, loyalty and sustained application to her work, in both the Ivy Baxter Group and the JCDC, made her contribution of lasting value.
Grange said the nation is again mourning the death of a cultural icon. "One cannot help but revere Joyce Campbell for the substantial contribution she has made towards the crafting and preservation of Jamaica's cultural heritage," she said. "Her dedication to the documentation of traditional folk forms has been instrumental in sustaining the link between our nation and its African heritage, a task she undertook with great passion up until the time of her passing."