Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMC) and the University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI) will host the 11th Dance and the Child International (daCi) Conference, August 2-8. This was revealed at the daCi Jamaica media launch on Thursday, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston.
The theme for the event is 'Cultures Flex: Unearthing Expressions of the Dancing Child'.
Nicholeen DeGrasse Johnson, conference chair and director of School of Dance, highlighted one of the reasons Jamaica will host the 11th daCi Conference.
reason for hosting
"A major one is to set the stage for dance to be considered a discrete subject in formal education in Jamaica," she said. "Our children need to experience the inclusivity of dance in schools at all levels. Dance education promotes outcomes across the learning domains - intellectual, physical, social and emotional."
Barbara Requa, one of the first two Jamaicans (the other being Shelia Barnett) to attend a daCi Conference explained that "the aim of the conference is to promote the growth of dance".
Sydney Bartley, director of culture at the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, expressed government's intention to support the event. He explained that the ministry "is aware of the role dance plays in the psyche of Jamaicans. Dance helped our ancestors to overcome their challenges".
Different forms of Jamaican dances were on show at the launch by dancers from Stella Marris, Wolmer's Dance Troupe, School of Dance Junior Department and Norwich Primary School. The children of Norwich reinforced the philosophy that dance and music can promote learning as they sang "verbs make you move your bodies and use up energy".
The first daCi Conference was held in Canada in 1978. But it was the 1991 conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, that child delegates were first invited to.
Imani Lawrence, a member of Stella Marris Dancers, attended the 2006 conference in The Hague, Netherlands, and said she is "100 per cent looking forward to the Jamaica conference in the summer". Most of all, she is looking forward to meeting new people and seeing the different dances from the 35 countries expected.
The conference will include lecture demonstrations, panel discussions, performances and workshops. Children, teachers (early childhood, dance teachers and physical education teachers) will be the target groups.
The organisers are appealing to Jamaicans to use word-of-mouth to promote the conference and are requesting assistance from corporate Jamaica so that they will be able to provide breakfast for the delegates.
Edna Manley, UWI to host dance conference
Published: Sunday | February 22, 2009
Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer