Kingston, Jamaica – Hundreds of patrons who flocked to Hope Gardens (Jamaica) last Sunday (May 17) were treated to a spectacular and unforgettable showcase of Jamaican Dance by some 35 dance groups and individuals at the fourth staging of ‘Arts in the Park’.
Performances ranged from traditional folk forms like Kumina and Junkanoo to contemporary Dancehall and Street Dance by schools and institutions such as Portmore Missionary, Stella Maris and Ardenne High. Several dance troupes also displayed their talent such as the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), Dance Theatre Xaymaca and L’Acadco Dance Force with solo performances by Raddy Rich and Lindsay Lodenquai.
The ‘Arts in the Park’- Dance Edition was hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment in association with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. It forms part of an ongoing effort by the Ministry to develop the local entertainment industry by providing opportunities for artistes in various creative sectors to further develop their career and gain international exposure.
In lauding the stellar lineup of dancers, State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Damion Crawford, said, “the dancers delivered some excellent performances and the large turnout for Arts in the Park – Dance Edition is proof of the appreciation of the exceptional dance talent that we have in Jamaica.” He added that “it was truly a celebration of dance which showcased various aspects of our culture in a very entertaining way.”
Minister Crawford said he was pleased too with the reaction of the international talent scouts who were in Jamaica to network with the dancers, give valuable advice and watch their performances. These included Ms. Virginie Mecene, Artistic Director, Graham 2 and Director Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance; Mr. Troy Powell, Artistic Director, Ailey II; Ms. Fatima Wilson, Head of Commercial & Dance, Bloc NYC; Dr. Barry Burch of the African American Dance Ensemble and Tanisha Scott, MTV nominated Choreographer for, among others, Beyonce, Rihanna and Sean Paul.
Chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board (EAB), Kingsley Cooper, said, “we cannot over-emphasize the value of the business networking opportunities facilitated by Arts in the Park. Particularly the Master Classes which were held before the show to allow the talent scouts to interact directly with local dancers and see first-hand Jamaica’s considerable talent.”
He outlined that “the international talent scouts were so impressed with the tremendous talent of our performers that some have given commitments to provide several scholarships and other overseas opportunities to local dancers.”
The ‘Arts in the Park’ initiative was conceived by the Ministry’s Entertainment Advisory Board to increase the quality of local entertainment offerings, while providing international booking agents and talent scouts opportunities to sign local acts and experience the “best of Jamaica”. It is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and several stakeholders from the entertainment sector and creative industries.