Dance Foundation Awards Bermuda Dancers

August 14, 2014

The National Dance Foundation of Bermuda recently showcased some of the island’s most talented dancers at the 2014 National Dance Foundation of Bermuda Award Presentation, with many of them being awarded with generous bursaries.

Deputy Chairman of the National Dance Foundation Brian O’Hara said, “This scholarship legacy was established by the Bermuda Ballet Association before it merged with the National Dance Foundation in 2005.

“Since then, almost $1,000,000 has been awarded for scholarships thanks to the many corporate and individual donors in the community. The Board of the Foundation is proud of these young Bermudians all of whom are passionate about dance.

“The first bursary goes to Amani Walker. She is 19-years-old and is studying in a BA Dance Performance programme at Middlesex University in London. The faculty say that she is a committed student demonstrating significant promise.

“The second bursary goes to 18-year-old Marcus Smith, former deputy head boy at Saltus and nominated Outstanding Teen of the Year. We know that Marcus is exceptionally talented in drama and has been accepted at the world famous Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in New York to study Theatre. With this programme he will also be doing a minor in dance and therefore we wish to support him.

“Jadiyah Bailey, a 19-year-old student, is entering her second semester at Montclair State University in New Jersey, majoring in dance. The university says that she is an incredibly hard-working student, shows significant potential as a dancer, and has made great strides in a short time of being there.

“Our next bursary goes to Dezjuan Thomas. Dezjuan is a 21-year-old force to be reckoned with, displaying incredible strength and perseverance to defy the odds of an illness that said he could not continue to dance. His future is bright and we look forward to all this young man will accomplish. He is in his third year at Ryerson University in Canada studying towards a BFA in dance.

“Recipients of the Professional Development Funding this year are Shaydrina Hassell and Rikkai Scott.

“Shaydrina has already earned her Master’s Degree, but wishes to pursue further studies which will combine her qualification in social work with dance movement therapy. Shaydrina informed the Scholarship Committee that dance therapy can also be used with the elderly or persons with chronic diseases.

“Shayrina has worked very hard this past year in order to fund her tuition at Drexel University. We are happy to assist her and are looking forward to the positive results of Shaydrina’s work in Bermuda schools.

“Our next Professional Development Fund recipient previously received The Montpelier Re Foundation Scholarship in honour of Mrs. Georgine Mary Russell Hill for three years while attending London Contemporary Dance School, and we are delighted that he has been dancing professionally in Europe for the past year.

“We are proud to now see Rikkai giving back to the community in Bermuda this summer by teaching dance lessons, and wish to support him with his future endeavours in dance.

“It is now my pleasure to present the National Dance Foundation’s major scholarship awards. Three of these scholarships were created in recognition of the Bermuda Ballet Association, and several of its late members, when the association dissolved in 2005.

“We are most grateful to the Montpelier Re Foundation and BF&M for their continued generous support of Bermuda’s talented and aspiring professional dancers, teachers and choreographers.

“The Montpelier Re Foundation Scholarship, in honour of Madame Ana Roje valued at $7,500, goes to Fredrika Hill. Fredrika, who has received previous Dance Foundation awards for her studies, will be entering her final year at the prestigious Boston Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts.

“Fredrika has used the opportunity at Boston Conservatory to expand her knowledge and technique in ballet as well as contemporary, jazz, modern, and musical theatre, and has established a more clear idea about how she would like to pursue dance in her future.

“The second Montpelier Re Foundation Scholarship is given in honour of Mrs. Georgine Mary Russell Hill. We were deeply saddened by the passing of Mrs. Hill earlier this year. She made such a profound impact on our entire community and was an honorary Board member of the National Dance Foundation.

“This Montpelier Re Foundation Scholarship of $7,500 goes to Dara Palmer. Dara is a third year student at Cornish College in Seattle and has impressed the scholarship committee with her commitment, her faculty reports, and in her interview.

“Our next award has been sponsored by BF&M since the scholarship’s inception, and the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda is deeply grateful to BF&M for their committed and generous sponsorship of this important award.

“The BF&M Scholarship, in honour of L. John Profit, goes to Eryn Beach. Eryn, an Honor Roll young Bermudian, will be going to London to study at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She is one of only 100 students to be accepted out of 2,000 applicants globally, which is a great accomplishment for a young person from a small island.

“Eryn regularly volunteers her time to help at Youth Net and other community commitments besides assisting teaching at several dance schools. We are looking forward to following her progress.

“Our final Bermuda Ballet Association Commemorative Award is the Patricia Calnan Commemorative Award. We are delighted to have Patricia’s son, Detective Chief Inspector Nicholas Pedro, to present this award today.

“This most prestigious award of $15,000 goes to Alexis Richens. Alexis has been a bursary award winner for all her previous years at Jacksonville University and we are especially delighted she will accept this award today. This stellar student has not only received the highest grades in dance but also in the field of micro and macroeconomics and is entering her final year.

“Alexis has just returned from an internship in Atlanta sponsored by the Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies. Later this week we shall be able to see some of her choreography at the Bermuda Civic Ballet. We look forward to this young Bermudian returning to Bermuda with her talent and expertise after she has completed her studies.

“It is without a doubt that the training received in the local dance schools, the support of family and friends and the generous and committed contribution made by local and international business, have provided educational opportunities and ensured the success of these aspiring and talented dancers.

“These gifted young people are excellent role models and have raised the bar for dance excellence in Bermuda.

“Our most heartfelt appreciation to all these wonderful donors who continue to believe in the mission of the National Dance Foundation which aims to develop young people through dance by supporting and providing world class training to the Bermuda community.”

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