From a young age, dance has always been a part of my life. I began my dance journey at Dance Strides Barbados and as I continued to dance, I had the privilege of the dancing with the NCF Ensemble and of course, The Barbados Dance Project (BDP). Dance has always been something that I have always done and I would not have it any other way. Dance allows you to find new ways to express yourself and reach new heights and when you do, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Dance has made me more confident and disciplined and the lessons you learn in the studio are lessons that will carry you through life.
BDP has really pushed me as a dancer and forced me to reach higher. The first year I did BDP was in 2015 and it was torturous and quite difficult and I admit that it was hard adjusting to such a rigorous form of training, but I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. Our teachers at BDP Jamal, Mia, Chanel and Nigel definitely motivated me and they put their heart and soul into bringing out the best in everyone. Being in that environment after a few days definitely made me a better dancer. Even after the intensive, I challenged myself to retain all that I learnt at Barbados Dance Project and I saw a lot of growth in myself over the year. Hard work will always be recognized.
What I particularly enjoyed this year, was seeing three generations of BDP on stage during the finale of our show. That moment felt pretty special to me and it’s just great to see how far this project has come and how we can take this into future. I truly believe that all participants of BDP are going to continue to grow stronger as we continue this legacy.
Since BDP ended in the summer, I am currently in the final year of completing my Bachelors in Dance & Theatre at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination and I plan to continue my studies in the Musical Theatre.
Thanks to BDP, I was given the opportunity to participate in the NIFCA Dance Competition this year, performing a duet which was choreographed by founder of BDP, Jamal Callender. This has been my first experience in NIFCA and I have been enjoying it so far and very excited to see where it takes me.
Concerning arts being supported by the government/community, I think we first of all need to stop seeing the arts as just fun and games and realize that many careers can come out of this field of study. We definitely need more scholarships available to students who want to study the arts, whether it be here in Barbados or abroad. Barbados has a lot of talented artists whether it be dancers, actors, musicians, you name it, but the average student can’t afford what they need to achieve their dreams, and so I think a lot more should be done to help young aspiring artists in Barbados. -Makeda Lowe