Organizers add new dimension to 2nd Annual Dance Clinic Grand Bahama Island

Ashleigh Rolle, Global Dignity Bahamas Country Chair

Grand Bahamians can mark their calendars for the Second Annual Dance Clinic Grand Bahama Island (GBI) Open Forum and Workshop, which is scheduled to take place July 23, from 2:00 p.m. – 4: 30 p.m. at the Louis Seiler Academy of Dance.

The event, which is being held entirely free of charge, will cater to persons ages 13 and up who are interested in dance and have a true passion for the craft.

For the second time Global Dignity Bahamas will partner with local dancer, Chivvaun Abigal Smith, to host the event, which organizers hope everyone will take advantage of.

Ashleigh Rolle, Global Dignity Bahamas Country Chair noted, “Chivvaun Abigal has partnered with Global Dignity Bahamas for this event. The reason that Global Dignity Bahamas plays a part in this is, because we really do believe in having access to performing arts.

“We think that there is a gap where young Bahamians are able to really hone their crafts. The dance classes are available, but the extra workshops that come along with that in order to really show that you want to be a part of the performing arts community, in a professional way, they are not really there.

“By taking advantage of the resources that we have, in the form of Chivvaun and in the form of McKinley Willis, who is actually coming down from Dallas to participate, we really think that is important in making it accessible and that is why we are placing an emphasis on the fact that it is free.”

Rolle shared that she is hopeful to see the dance clinic expand on the island in years to come. “In the future we do see Dance Clinic GBI expanding from one day to a weekend, to a week and hopefully, brining in a lot more artists and expanding into different genres – modern contemporary, ballet, jazz and hip hop – to allow younger Bahamians to realize that there is an entire world of performing arts out there.

“They do not necessarily have to feel restricted. We are reaching out to dancers who have a little bit of experience and want to see what the craft is all about. Global Dignity Bahamas is really pushing this initiative, because we really do believe in dignity for all and a part of that is access for the arts,” revealed Rolle.

“We want to show the island of Grand Bahama what Dance Clinic GBI is all about. We did not have the best of luck with sponsors this year, but hopefully after they see that we are continuing to do this – regardless of the lack of sponsor – more person will be interested in assisting.

“Bringing in a dancer from the United States alone and being able to entertain her while she is on the island, because we do have a beautiful island that we want to show her, that definitely takes time and money, but it is a labor of love at this point.

“We want to show the business community that we are here and that you can invest in your young people. We do not intend to leave, regardless of how hard it may get, financially speaking, we are still going to be here,” said Rolle.

“We encourage persons to take advantage of this opportunity. A lot of the workshops that take place, if they take place at all, take place at an exorbitant fee; this is free. This is accessible to literally anyone, ages 13 and up,” concluded Rolle.

Smith shared that she is grateful that her friend has agreed to travel to the island, to share her expertise with fellow Grand Bahamians that also have a passion for dance and the performing arts.

“This year we wanted to expand on what we did last year. Last year we reached out to younger girls, for those who were more ballet inclined.
“This year, I reached out to one of my good friends (McKinley Willis), who I danced with in college. She is a professional dancer with Dallas Black Dance Theatre in Texas. She is coming down and has agreed to teach a class for us, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 23, here at Louis Seiler Academy of Dance (Grand Bahama Fitness Building).

“She will focus on more modern dance, we will also have a dignity session as well as a question and answer period so that the participants will have full access to all of the information.”

Willis began her dance training with the Dallas Black Dance Academy and later received additional training at Özsoy’s School of Ballet. She is a 2011 graduate of Booker T. Washington HSPVA, as well as a 2015 graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

In 2010, she received the Texas Commission on the Arts Young Masters scholarship and made her debut with the Bruce Wood Dance Project in 2011 as an apprentice and again as a performing member in 2015.

“We wanted to reach out to the older dancers this time, ages 13 and up, who have an idea of what they really want to do or those who really enjoy dancing, so that they can take advantage of this opportunity; because it is something that we do not have often, especially here on the island of Grand Bahama,” said Smith.

Smith and Rolle encouraged dancers throughout the island to participate in this one of a kind event, for persons to truly learn first hand from a professional standpoint, the beauty of dance and the performing arts.

To register for the event persons are asked to send in their name, age and dance experience to danceclinicgbi@gmail.com.

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