Some 40 students of Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale were given the opportunity to experience the dance techniques of Caribbean dance at a recent workshop conducted by Barry Moncrieffe, artistic director of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, (NDTC).
The workshop conducted in two hour-long sessions last Friday (Feb. 9), afforded the students of the school’s Performing Arts Center, to learn, explore and experience Caribbean movement and its similarities and distinctions as they worked with Mr. Moncrieffe and master drummer of the NDTC, Mr. Henry Miller.
Both men were accompanying the 45-member dance troupe of Jamaica’s national dance company as they performed to a sold out audience at the Broward Center Performing Arts last Saturday (Feb. 10), in Fort Lauderdale.
In expressing gratitude, Dillard’s dance teacher, Ms. Josee Garant, expressed the effectiveness and meaning conveyed to the students, high school seniors, male and female, through the Caribbean dance techniques. This, she indicated was important to the diversity of students enrolled at the institution as they were exposed to other cultures.
While this dance experience was part of the school’s Black History Month celebration, the workshops also formed part of the school’s dance curriculum where guest choreographers are introduced to the students from time to time.
Many students were enthused about the traditional African/Caribbean based themes that they had experienced in the brief learning period, explaining that this was an unusual dance experience for them. Dance teacher, Ms. Garant added that this unique experience would allow them to become better dancers as they were being exposed to different techniques including jazz, modern and creative dance, ballet and salsa.
Later that day, the NDTC team later conducted a similar lecture/demonstration workshop in contemporary dance in America and the Caribbean at the Florida International University in Miami. Participants at that session included professional students of dance – intermediate and advanced levels,
choreographers, artistic directors, educators and dance critics.