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When will dance and performing arts be taken to the next level in SVG?

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Tue, Oct 14, 2014

Throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines, the flames of interest are being fanned once again where dance is concerned. Not only are new dance groups springing up at a faster rate, the more well established ones are seeing spikes in new membership.{{more}}

If that alone isn’t convincing enough, then surely the public’s attendance at the recently concluded KCCU National Dance Festival will. The Peace Memorial Hall was filled to maximum capacity on each night of the preliminary rounds and sold out on the night of the final – with many left disappointed that they hadn’t secured their tickets earlier.

Moreover, the male presence within dance is creeping closer in numbers to that of the females; interest in the art form is starting at an earlier age; and the diversity in genres of dance being tackled has never before been seen locally. Yes, dance is back in a big way.

Given these observations, is it not high time that the long promised performing arts centre becomes a reality? One that not only provides a bigger platform for the various dance and performing arts groups to stage recitals and productions, but also one that gives them a place to practice… a place to experiment… a place to hone their raw talent… a place that has the potential to take dance to the next level.

And it would not be enough to simply provide the building; there must be follow up. That means making dance a more integral part of the school curriculum, establishing more dance development programmes throughout the country, enabling further training for choreographers and coordinators… the list goes on.

There is no denying that the talent exists, and, yes indeed this talent has blossomed in the most basic of environments. But there is also a lot of room for development. To elevate above what we have already achieved, the environments need a major upgrade. We are, after all, Hairouna – the land of the blessed. It would be wasteful of us to let our blessings wither and fade away.

In our society, as well as many others in this region, dance has long been viewed as a hobby, not worthy of pursuing as a “proper” career because there is seemingly not enough financial gain to be had from it. But if we cast our eyes further afield, we will see that the creative industry (which dance and performing arts are a firm part of) is flourishing.

Furthering dance and performing arts will also have a knock-on effect for other professionals… photographers, set designers, fashion and costume designers, seamstresses, sound and lighting technicians, marketing and social media specialists, printing firms etc, etc. It also would enhance our tourism product.

Is this not what the government and business specialists have long been calling for? Diversification in career and business opportunities? Here is a huge one staring us in the face, and we should strike while the iron is hot.

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