Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Campion College Dance Society, one of Jamaica’s leading high school dance troupes, will take its critically acclaimed production ‘ROOTS’ to South Florida at the Parker Playhouse on August 5 and 6. The production is endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sports as one of the official events of the country’s 61 independence celebration. With tickets already on sale, rehearsals and preparations are underway in earnest as the 35-member ensemble gets ready to visit North America.
“It’s an enormous leap for the dance society and a proud moment for Campion College,” commented Dwright Wright, the troupe’s artistic director, in a recent interview. “As our country celebrates 61 years of independence, ROOTS brags the achievements of our country while highlighting the struggles still faced by our people.”
According to Wright, ROOTS unravels the nuances of a small but proud island nation destined for greatness. “The production was intentionally curated to bring every aspect of Jamaica to the diaspora in the United States. The presentation is a beautiful mix of Afro-Caribbean folk form, fused with stylized modern contemporary undertones unique to Jamaica.”
Patrons will be treated to a number of the company’s popular works including “In Our Lane,” one of the troupe’s most treasured pieces. It highlights the country’s dominance in track and field. The work was choreographed by Renee McDonald, a Campion alumnus and resident teacher with the society.
Wright’s narrative work, “Misogyny” will remind the audience of the country’s social ills, in addition, it reaffirms the promise of Jamaica being the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business.
Wright is confident that his current group of dancers has found their footing to deliver a stellar showing in the US. “These student dancers are committed to their craft. I am proud of this new generation of Campion dancers,” he noted. “They have kept the rich dance tradition at Campion alive and are eager to perform internationally.”
Known for its holistic development, and character-building dance environment, the troupe has an itinerary that includes guest performances through a cultural exchange programme with the Broward Centre of the Performing Arts in South Florida where ROOTS is part of the “Arts For Action: Black Voices” program.
Wright acknowledged that financial support is a challenge for the dance society, “To stage a two-leg international tour is very expensive.” He is hopeful for more support from corporate sponsors, alumni of Campion College, and the public by way of ticket sales. “We have been receiving some support from Florida and New York alumni groups. The Consul General for South Florida, Oliver Mair, as well as the Campion College Alumni Association Northeast Chapter have been integral in coordinating the tour.”
The tour has also received support from the Chase Fund, Sagicor, Irie Jam radio in New York, the Jamaica Observer, Tourism Enhancement Fund, Guardian Group, Victoria Mutual, Golden Krust, Mailpac and Visit Lauderdale.
He further implored the public to spread the word to their families and friends in Florida and New York as well as nearby states. The first set of performances will be at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale on August 5 & 6. The group then travels north to the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts at Lehman College in the Bronx, New York. The second set of performances will be on August 12 and 13.