2022 National Dance Foundation Scholarships

August 11, 2022

Acacia Tucker, Arielle Ming, Ava Moreno, Dezjaun Thomas, Vidya Cannonier-Watson, Onuri Smith, T’aja Williams, Skye Minors, Naysaa Tucker, and Ravi Cannonier-Watson all earned 2022 National Dance Foundation scholarships and awards.

Scholarships Presented

A spokesperson said, “The 2022 National Dance Foundation Fund awards took place in the Somers Room at O’Hara House AXA/XL. In 2005 the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda took on the responsibility of continuing the scholarships in honour of founding members of the Bermuda Ballet Association and growing the scholarship fund to enable more Bermudian dancers, teachers and choreographers to benefit from world-class training overseas.

“Since 2005 over $1 million has been awarded to more than 60 Bermudian dancers thanks to the charitable generosity of individual and corporate donors in the community. Consequently, there are now more Bermudian dancers working professionally throughout the world than ever before.

“Scholarship Committee member and NDFB Fund Development Representative, Mary Faulkenberry, and Chairman and Fund Advisor, Mr. Brian O’Hara, presented the awards.

Naysaa Tucker, Arielle Ming, Caron Oleary for Onuri Smith, Sherlrina Thomas for Dezjuan Thomas, Ava Moreno, Mary Faulkenberry, Natalie Chiaramonte, William Usher, Esme Williams for T’aja Williams, John Wight, Brian O’Hara, Faith Humann, Skye Minors, Ravi Cannonier-Watson, Acacia Tucker, Vidya Cannonier-Watson

National Dance Foundation Awards Presentation Bermuda Aug 2022 (1)

Acacia Tucker 

“The first bursary, donated by members of the NDFB Fund Scholarship Committee in the amount of $1,000 was awarded to Acacia Tucker who will be attending the Grier School in Pennsylvania as a sophomore.

 Arielle Ming, Ava Moreno, Skye Minors and Naysaa Tucker

“The Chubb Foundation Bursary, of $7,500 will be shared between 4 deserving and talented young dancers. They are Arielle Ming, who will graduate with a BA degree this year from the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary in London, Ava Moreno, who is entering her junior year at the Grier School in Pennsylvania, Skye Minors, who is entering her sophomore year at Howard University in Washington D.C. and Naysaa Tucker, who will be entering her freshman year at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. Natalie Chiaramonte, President of Sovereign Risk Insurance Limited and Trustee of the Chubb Charitable Foundation-Bermuda, was in attendance to present these awards.

Dezjaun Thomas

“The National Dance Foundation of Bermuda Fund, is delighted to present a Professional Development Award to Dezjaun Thomas, in the amount of $3,000. Dezjuan will pursue a Post Graduate Certificate in Education with a Qualified Teacher Status at Chichester University in the Secondary Dance Program. His artistic contributions to the island include developing a course named ‘Creative Studies’, to introduce students to the fundamentals of Acting, Dance and Music at East End and Victor Scott Primary Schools, as well as being a dedicated member of Bermuda Donquili.

Vidya Cannonier-Watson, Arielle Ming, Brian O’Hara, Ava Moreno, Ravi Cannonier-Watson, Acacia Tucker, Skye Minors, Mary Faulkenberry, Caron Oleary [Onuri’s mother], Naysaa Tucker

National Dance Foundation Awards Presentation Bermuda Aug 2022 (2)

Vidya Cannonier-Watson 

“Vidya Cannonier-Watson was awarded The Arch Scholarship of $7,500, established in honour of Madame Ana Roje, a founding member of the BBA. Vidya will be entering the 5th Form at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in the UK. Vidya has proven to be a talented, tenacious and dedicated dancer. William Usher, AVP, Financial Reporting at Arch Reinsurance and Secretary of the Arch Charitable Committee presented the scholarship. The NDFB Scholarship Committee is excited to see what the future has in store for Vidya and is pleased to contribute to her studies for another year.

Onuri Smith

“The Christian Humann Foundation Scholarship, in honour of Mrs. Georgine Mary Russell Hill, valued at $7,500, was awarded to Onuri Smith. Onuri is studying for a BA Honors Musical Theatre degree at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London with a focus on dance performance and contextual studies. He studied at In Motion School of Dance and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Onuri’s dream is to perform on the West End or Broadway. He also hopes to contribute to the accessibility of performing arts in Bermuda. The award was presented by Mrs. Faith Humann of the Christian Humann Foundation and Dr. June Hill, Mrs. Hill’s daughter.

T’aja Williams

“The BF&M Scholarship, established in honour of L. John Profit, a founding member of the BBA, and valued at $7,500 has been sponsored by the BF&M Insurance Group since its inception and was presented to T’aja Williams. T’aja will be attending George Mason University in Virginia to pursue a BFA in dance. She has been described as a talented, capable and driven student with overwhelming potential. T’aja choreographed in Troika’s 2022, Young Choreographers Showcase and also choreographs for elite gymnasts at the BGA. The Dance Foundation is deeply grateful to Chairman and CEO, Mr. John Wight and BF&M for their long-term commitment and generous support of Bermuda’s talented and aspiring professional artists. Mr. John Wight presented the BF&M Scholarship to T’aja. The committee wished T’aja well as she embarks on her journey at George Mason University.

Ravi Cannonier-Watson

“The final presentation was the Catherine Zeta-Jones Scholarship, valued at $15,000 in honour of Patricia Calnan, a founding member of the Bermuda Ballet Association, a revered and passionate arts critic and friend to many in the arts community. The recipient for the third year was Ravi Cannonier-Watson, who proudly accepted this most prestigious scholarship presented by NDFB Fund Chairman and Fund Advisor, Mr. Brian O’Hara. Ravi will be entering his penultimate year at the Royal Ballet School in London, where he continues to excel and impress as a dancer. A highlight of his year was dancing at Queen’s Jubilee on the grand stage in front of Buckingham Palace, attended by thousands and televised around the world. Detective Superintendent Nicholas Pedro, Patricia Calnan’s son joined Mr. O’Hara to present the award.


“The National Dance Foundation expressed sincere thanks to the Bermuda Community Foundation for their support and advice and to AXA/XL for their exceptional hospitality throughout the years. The award ceremony closed with the NDFB Scholarship Committee thanking its donors and attendees for their presence and committed investment in talented Bermudians, whom they know will make their mark in the dance world.”

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