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The National Festival of the Performing Arts of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), kicks off on Wednesday, June 12, at the Little Theatre in Kingston beginning at 10:00 a.m.

To be held under the theme: ‘JCDC 50 Celebrating Cultural Excellence through Preservation and Innovation’, the festival will begin with performances in the categories of traditional folk forms, deaf dance and drum fest. The annual national finals will run from Wednesday, June 12 to Friday, July 5.

Subject Specialist for Music at the JCDC, Gregory Simms, said the festival will feature the most talented youth from schools, groups and churches across the island.

“The finalists with the most excellent items which we call the gold winning items will be coming in from across the island to compete for national honours and awards,” he said, adding that the gold medalists were selected at competitions held at the zone and parish levels.

Mr. Simms said the festival is of great significance this year as the JCDC celebrates 50years of cultural excellence. He noted that performances in the Traditional Folk Forms category will be held from Wednesday, June 12 to Friday, June 14, starting at 10:00 a.m. each day.

“Everything that has to do with bruckins, kumina and gerreh and dinki-mini, all of those traditional folk forms will be showcased at that programme,” he explained.

On Saturday, June 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the hearing-impaired will showcase their creative talents in the area of dance, while the other dance groups will perform on June 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22.

Choir Fest will begin on Sunday, June 23, starting at 2:00 p.m., followed by performances in the music category on June 25, 26 and 27 starting at 10:00 a.m.

Mr. Simms noted that the speech category, which has the highest number of entrants, will be held on June 28, July 4 and July 5, while performances in the area of Drama will take place on July 2 and 3.

Explaining the high number of entrants in the speech category, Mr. Simms said that persons were more inclined to perform or recite a piece, thinking it would be easier than preparing items in the categories of music, dance and traditional folk forms.

“But, what we really have to try and do, through the competition, is help them to realize that all arts require training and specialized training to get the best results and to become excellent in your craft,” he added.

The competitions in the performing arts are opened to all persons residing in Jamaica, including schools, community groups, youth clubs, social clubs, performing arts clubs, churches and outstanding individual performers.

Contact: E. Hartman Reckord