During the first week of Spring Break, Deerfield’s Advanced Dance Ensemble will journey to Jamaica. The trip will begin in Kingston, where the group will spend the majority of its time, and will culminate in Ochos Rios.
Visual and Performing Arts Chair Ms. Jennifer Whitcomb said that Advanced Dance Ensemble member Taro Jones ’17, who is from Jamaica, “comes from a school there with a really vibrant dance program,” called Campion College, explained Ms. Whitcomb.Campion College is an academically successful, parochial institution, and Ms. Whitcomb cited Taro’s connection with the school as the reason for the ensemble’s trip. Ms. Whitcomb has maintained contact with the school for the past two years, in hopes of collaborating with them.
While in Kingston, the Advanced Dance Ensemble will perform at a children’s hospital, will take master classes with prominent Jamaican dance teachers, and will also commission a piece from a famous choreographer, Marlon Simms, the creator of Jones’s piece in the Winter Dance Concert.
“It’s going to be very dance-intensive,” Ms. Whitcomb said.
When asked what aspect of the trip he most looks forward to, Jones said, “I’m interested to see how these two groups interact, because I heard that we will be doing a collaboration… I think it’s going to be fun.”
Advanced Dance Ensemble member Amelia Evans ’18 said, “I’m excited to be more cultured in the way I dance and the different styles I’ve been taught, and to work with a new choreographer.”
Throughout the trip, the group will be immersed in a style of dance that developed through the convergence of European and African cultures. “Jamaica has an incredible dance scene that is not only contemporary, modern, North-American, but also Afro-Caribbean,” Ms. Whitcomb said.
Jones concluded, “Different styles of music and dance have developed along with folk dance, and I think that experience with different styles of dance can help the dance ensemble be well rounded, and can give some ideas for future dances.”