Lifestyle

Body Talk with Plié for the Arts

Friday, August 31, 2018

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Organisers of Plié for The Arts in collaboration with the United States Embassy in Jamaica hosted a two-day engagement with youth involved in the performing arts, as a means of encouraging their artistic growth and development.

The Dennis Scott Studio, School of Drama, was the first stop on Wednesday, for a session with African-American prima ballerina Misty Copeland.

During the intimate sit-down, the audience had the opportunity to pose questions and share their own experiences with the American Ballet Theatre principal.

The predominantly adolescent audience comprised members of the Tivoli Dance Troupe, Vicker's Dance Studio, Campion Dance Society, the Ashe Company, Portmore Dance Centre, Institute of Jamaica Junior Centre and children from the Jones Town and Rose Town communities.

“We wanted young people from as many communities as possible to get a chance to interact with Misty, to share their dreams and aspirations and leave knowing they can achieve anything they put their minds to,” Plié for the Arts founder Marisa Benain told Friday Social .

The conversation continued on Thursday courtesy of the Jamaica Tourist Board with 400 more participants inside the Grand Jamaica Suite of the Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

Ashe Company Artistic Director Michael Holgate guided the panel discussion which featured Copeland, Desmond Richardson, co-founder and co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Patsy Ricketts, founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and former principal dancer of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica.

Throughout the discourse panellists fielded questions from the moderator about their dance journey, challenges, the importance of mentorship, and dance as a feasible career option. There was lots to digest but a definite takeaway was Copeland's emphasis of hard work and discipline in achieving excellence in the arts.

She also mentioned the importance of having a positive perspective in the face of adversity, citing that as a key reason she was eventually promoted to the principal role in a predominantly white company.

After the discussion, the three panellists, and Benain received tokens of appreciation from Jamaica Tourist Board Head of Administration Peter Mullings and Rollins, respectively.

A musical selection by Ardenne High School student Taville Henry, and Tara Price of Dance Theatre Xaymaca, along with Company Dance Theatre Principal Steven Cornwall, choreographed to a medley of dancehall hits, provided the afternoon's entertainment. And to the delight of the audience Copeland and Richards also engaged members of the audience in a meet-and-greet.

Copeland, who made history as the first African-American prima ballerina with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, will perform this evening in Kingston, Jamaica, at the first of two-sold out shows.

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