University offers opportunity to appreciate local dance

| 11/09/2010

(CNS): The University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) is offering a new course on Caribbean and local dance forms exploring the role of traditional Caribbean its meaning, purpose and relationship to other art forms in contemporary Caymanian society. The course is an intentional departure from the traditional academic norm at UCCI as UCCI President Roy Bodden said arts have much to offer in terms of personal growth and development. Facilitated by Adjunct Professor Dr. Monika Lawrence, from the University of Technology in Jamaica, as well as physically experiencing selected dance styles, students can study dance theory and evaluate Caribbean dance history within the context of cultural identity and development.

Maintaining his goal of developing the ‘whole man,’ Bodden said he hopes to inspire UCCI students by offering them a wide selection of disciplines. He believes the arts help to build self-confidence and other characteristics that can easily be transferred to traditional academic courses. More importantly, he said these subject areas build altruism. Ultimately he hopes that UCCI students will understand that acquiring an education extends beyond improving personal circumstances and that, with education, comes a moral obligation to work towards the improvement of community and society.
“Cayman will never become great if our graduates are concerned only about personal wealth and acquiring the latest status symbols,” Bodden explained. “While financial stability is important, helping the under-privileged and working to uplift the community is of equal importance.
“The performing and visual arts are areas through which students can examine themselves; discover their abilities and potential; understand their strengths and weakness, and the importance of all their contributions. Once they develop these skills the sky can indeed be the limit,” he added.   
Dr. Lawrence, a former dancer with the late Rex Nettleford’s National Dance Theatre Company and founder of the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble, also spoke of the importance of the arts. “Youngsters have to learn about their own culture and appreciate it to impart it,” she explained.
“Students who engage in the arts tend to have a better understanding of themselves, and a more positive outlook on who they are. These subjects help them understand why we take certain cultural norms for granted. The power of the arts is phenomenal — I’ve seen shy individuals become more assertive and confident. I’ve even seen how the arts can help students to cope with unfamiliar subject matters.”
The Introduction to Caribbean Dance and Culture course will be offered twice weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
 For more information on this or other arts and humanities courses, visit Alternatively, email Dr. Lawrence at or Registrar John Frederick by emailing or by calling 623-0520.
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