Thu | Dec 2, 2021

The Arts | Jody-Marie Smith-Hussey - Creating a safe place through dance

Published:Monday | March 4, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Jody-Marie Smith has over twenty five years experience in dance and performing arts from Fairfield Theatre movement, Wolmer’s Dance Troupe and the University of the West Indies (UWI) dance society.

She has been the Chief Executive Officer for First Dance Studios for the past six years. Established in 2013, First Dance Studios has been doing their part in significantly changing the landscape of the arts in Western Jamaica.

They are a performing arts group based in Montego Bay that offers classes to students of all ages in a variety of dance styles as well as music, acting, modelling, taekwondo and gymnastics, all taught at levels suitable for participants in a safe, fun and creative atmosphere.

Since its inception, First Dance Studios’ goal has been to build a Centre for Performing Arts in Western Jamaica that will seek to expand their current offerings, add to the cultural retention of the people and provide development opportunities for future employment in the Arts for the youth in Western Jamaica.

They currently serve over 90 students in their weekly programmes.

Smith believes that a Performing Arts Centre is not only a place for young talent to develop in a safe and supervised environment but also serves as a revenue earner for the community and country, a contributor towards employment, tourism, cognitive and physical development, social development and cultural retention amongst many other benefits.

She has launched campaigns via social media and other avenues in order to accomplish their goal.

Collaborations have since been established with corporate companies both locally and internationally.

“We are confident that there will be a paradigm shift in Western Jamaica and that persons- public and private sector officials as well as the public- will see the benefit of the Arts to the community and will understand and align with the vision we wish to bring to life,” Smith said.

“Countries in the first world have already adapted to this concept which is working very well for their communities outside of the physical, cognitive and social development aspects, dance and the arts form a multi-billion dollar industry waiting for Jamaica to tap into,” she said.

Smith also has over fourteen years business experience in Hospitality, Marketing, Finance and support business sectors from employment with US Airways, Air Jamaica, Compass Cove Resort USA, Scotiabank, National Commercial Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland/Natwest UK and Rainforest Seafoods.

She has lived and studied in London, where she completed her Master’s degree in Business and Marketing from the University of Wales and also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of West Indies.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com