The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) kicked off its National Festival of the Performing Arts finals yesterday (June 12), with some exciting performances at the Little Theatre on Tom Redcam Drive.
Students from some 20 schools across the island performed on day one of the competition, which featured traditional folk forms. The students, age three to 19 years, energetically and skillfully executed folk styles such as the Quadrille, Maypole, Gerreh, and Dinki-Mini, Ettu, Tambu, Ni-Nite and performed ring games.
Among the participants was a 16-member ring games team from the Bright Beginning Educational Centre in Portmore, St. Catherine.
Clad in yellow tops and blue floral skirts, with yellow ribbons in their hair, the team was the fifth group to take the stage. The girls danced feverishly while belting out traditional ring game tunes such as ‘Brown girl in the ring’ and ‘Going to a circus, Going to a fair’.
After their performance, team member Dominique Elliot, whose dream is to become a professional dancer, said she was excited to be part of the national finals.
“I am happy that we got through to the finals because Aunty Marjorie, our dance teacher, really worked hard with us and I’m hoping that we get a trophy,” she told JIS during an interview.
Dance teacher, Marjorie Fuller, commended the students, noting that they were able to rise above the many challenges and pull off a stellar performance.
“I thought my girls did extremely well given the fact that last week was Grade Four Literacy Test and it was extremely hectic to get them on time for practice. Some students are engaged in other extracurricular activities as well as extra lessons but we worked with the parents and teachers and we were able to come today,” Ms. Fuller said.
“We practised every day of the week except Sundays and a teacher at our school who sews very well worked very hard to prepare the costumes for today’s competition,” she added.
The traditional folk form finals end today (June 13) and will be followed by the finals in dance, drama, music, and speech.
The National Festival of the Performing Arts finals culminates on the evening of July 5. There will be prizes and trophies awarded for the best overall performances. Winners in each category will be invited to perform at the annual Mello-Go-Round.
The National Festival of the Performing Arts finals features the top performances from the parish and zone competitions held early in the year.
By Sanasha Pearson