Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 20, 2016 (SKNIS): The dance techniques employed by teachers, choreographers and students will be upgraded thanks to a workshop hosted by the Department of Culture and facilitated by Marlon Simms, Assistant Director of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica.

Mr. Simms revealed that during the week and a half workshop, the participants will be taught based on the Caribbean context.

“I assess them to see what level they are at technically and I don’t want to give them too much but enough to make them feel as though they’ve accomplished something, in the short time I’ll be working with them,” he said.  “And the two forms I’ve been really focused on are Caribbean folk dance and also modern dance.  I’ve given them a bit of jazz dance from North America but really focusing on what we do here in the Caribbean, which we’re really good at, which are the traditional folk forms.”

The workshop participants are divided into three daily sessions.  The first two groups target trainers of dance; they take place from 2 – 4 p.m. and 5 – 7 p.m. with 19 participants each.  The final group meets from 7:30 to 9 p.m. with 40 participants.

Mr. Simms revealed that in working at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, he had been impressed by students from St. Kitts and Nevis when they attended the summer programme.  In particular, he singled out Marcia Jeffers, who he said had graduated as valedictorian of her class three years ago.  Since then, he had anticipated coming to the Federation.

“So we’ve been working on this assignment for quite a while now in terms of having me come here and passing on invaluable information to the dancers here who have great ambition and also to persons interested in dance education, practicing teachers as well,” Mr. Simms said.  “Of course she (Marcia Jeffers) worked with the Ministry of Sports and Culture and so the Department of Culture was very heavily involved and so the dance specialist (Lorna “Ava” Henry) as well, in terms of bringing me here.”

Mr. Simms, who is the also the Head of Dance Education and Chair of the Education Board of Studies for the School of Dance at the Edna Manley College, works with other heads of department for the other performing arts schools in music, drama and visual arts.

As the holder of a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Choreographic Theory and Practice, Mr. Simms also volunteers his time as the Associate Artistic Director of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica.

The dance techniques workshop runs from June 13 to 22, 2016.

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