Student News

Jamaica #6: Expanding Our Dance Vocabulary

Christina Kopp – March 16, 2016

Maddie Thies ’17 recounts a day full of opportunity for learning new types of dance and getting to know new friends:

Today after an authentic Jamaican lunch of jerk chicken and pork, with our stomachs satisfied, we went to a traditional Jamaican dance class at Edna Manley College of Performing Arts. The dance students and teachers greeted us enthusiastically and patiently guided us through the unfamiliar movements. In addition, we learned about the origins of the dance moves and how they fit into Jamaica’s history and culture.

Photo Credit: Heather Wakeman

Photo Credit: Heather Wakeman

Next, we went across the street to continue our piece with Marlon Simms, who continued to amaze with the organic flow of the choreography and challenged us to fully embrace the new style. We continued with our dance as went travelled back to Campion College. After an upbeat warm up with the fellow advanced dancers at Campion, we split into four mixed groups of Campion and Deerfield students to learn a collaborative piece that we will perform on Thursday. The dance is a mix of reggae, ballet, modern, contemporary, and traditional Caribbean movements. The Campion choreographers and students inspired us with their talent and brought a vibrant energy that made the rehearsal time very enjoyable.


For dinner, we were able to go to Usain Bolt’s restaurant, Tracks and Records, with some students and teachers from Campion. Afterwards they also joined us for ice cream and we had the opportunity to talk in a non-dance environment to learn about how our schools and dance programs contrasted and were similar. By the end of the day we were tired but also extremely excited with the progress we’ve made with our dances, friends we’ve already made at Campion, and that we are able to expand our dance vocabulary each day.