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Stacy Letrice meditating on dance for stage

Published:Wednesday | July 17, 2019 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Chicago-born dancer and founder of Jukeboxx Dance Stacy Letrice.
Chicago-born dancer and founder of Jukeboxx Dance Stacy Letrice shows young dancers meditation techniques to use before performing during a class at Dance Jamaica Academy.

Dance and music are deeply rooted in Chicago-born Stacy Letrice’s life. Her father, who she says is a lover of all types of music, is the person responsible for exposing her to music of African and Caribbean origin.

“As a little girl, my dad carried me to festivals and other types of events that featured artistic performances. It was inevitable that I developed an interest in art and dance,” Letrice told The Gleaner.

It was fulfilling bonding time. Letrice valued her father’s unique approach to raising her as a culturally aware female, but it also made her feel more connected to Caribbean cultures than her own. Some of her first dance tutors were from the Caribbean, and while they educated her about the dance, they also transmitted a passion for their food, art, history, music and language.

At 32 years old, Letrice has a bachelor’s degree in dance and sociology and has also completed a master’s degree in dance movement therapy, which allows her to wear the titles professional dancer and dance therapist.

Fundamental to dance

“Meditation is a fundamental part of dancing. As a teacher, I like to find ways to integrate other aspects of healing into the classes (no matter the age) especially for “people of colour” because they are not as open to going to professional counselling,” she said, to The Gleaner during a free class she hosted in association with Dance Jamaica over the weekend.

She continued, “We have our own methods of dealing with internal emotions, and dance is one of them. For children who are hyper, meditation gets them settled, centred and prepared to be focused on the dance.”

The dance teacher/dance therapist, who was crowned Minnesota’s Dancehall Queen two years ago, is also the founder of Jukeboxx Dance, a brand dedicated to pursuing happiness through African and Caribbean dance culture. She is currently in Jamaica preparing to take on the Reggae Sumfest stage.

Along with four members of Jukeboxx Dance, Letrice will lead the choreography for recording artiste Rre on festival Night One, Friday, July 19.

“I am very honoured to be participate in this year’s Reggae Sumfest,” Letrice stated. “I have been trying for years to be part of the festival experience, and now we are here to inspire, to have a good time and just meet a diverse community of performers and the audience that will benefit the overall cultural exchange through music and dance.”

Rehearsals have, so far, ‘been going great’.

She added, “There is nothing like meditating on a performance, whether before the actual event,, or right before our feet hit the ground. And the team can’t wait for this weekend.”