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He's been the opening act for Nelly, Common, Ricky Martin, Fabolous and Pitbull, and he's currently the head choreographer for new Interscope recording artist, J Randall. He has worked with dance teams from Rutgers University, Florida State University and Florida International University. He has also taught master classes for many conventions including Dance Educators of America, Dance Masters of America, Florida School of the Arts and the Broadway Bound Dance Intensive, and he's bringing his moves to The Bahamas.
Lawrence "Larry" Albright will present a one-day Hip Hop dance workshop on Saturday, March 10 at the New Providence Community Center on Blake Road. Albright is being brought to The Bahamas by "Dance For Life", a dance-focused organization that targets motivating young people through dance.
From the most novice dancer to dancers with experience, Albright's workshop is expected to be a dance lesson to remember. His choreography can be seen in J Randall's "Spirit of the Radio" music video for the movie "Step Up 3" as well as Sean Kingston's video "Fire Burning" and "Bumpy Ride" by Mohombi Videos.
"We may have numerous dance studios locally, but it is still not everyday that you get to learn Hip Hop dance moves from an expert in the field," said Regina Smith, the dance workshop manager. "Lots of young people are interested in this kind of thing, but there are so few outlets that allow them to get a true grasp of this dance genre. This is why 'Dance For Life' wanted to put on something like this. It's new and different, and it doesn't matter your skill level. It will be fun and a great way to spend a Saturday," she said.
Workshop participants will explore different techniques in Jazz, Hip Hop, Breakdancing, Pop and Lock and dance team Hip Hop choreography. Albright will also take them through the dance scenes of Los Angeles and New York.
Classes catering to children 10 to 12 years old are from 9 a.m. until 12 noon. Classes for people 13 years and older will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The classes are expected to be an intense, energy-packed series of lessons that will give dancers a taste of the diverse style of Hip Hop dance.
Being able to move and crunk like the actors from popular dance flicks like "Step Up", "Save the Last Dance", "You Got Served" and "Stomp the Yard" will no longer be just pipe dreams for the people that take advantage of this workshop. A mini dance-off will be held at the end of each session.
Albright's form of instruction is expected to mesh his professionalism with a sense of fun and excitement.
"We wanted to offer this event because young people need to be involved in things that are interactive, positive, constructive, engaging and fun," said Smith. "This is a great alternative to a typical lazy Saturday morning. It will get people to be up and excited about moving and expressing themselves in a different way."
At Dance For Life, she said their objective is to look for ways to create and offer a community oriented environment that young people can go to express themselves. And that the weekend dance workshop, which is open to anyone who loves to move provides just that opportunity. And that she credits her continual pursuit of excellence to her participation in the arts at an early age.
"Participation in dance not only served as a form of personal expression but it also taught me the value of commitment, consistency, discipline and hard work, and I've always been an advocate for young people to be given a creative outlet," she said.
Dancing and moving in unison to any beat is natural for dance fanatic Keira Rahming. The 16-year-old Ballet and Jazz dancer intends to go to the Hip Hop workshop and learn about new ways to let her rhythm flow.
"I believe everyone has their own rhythm and their own dance. I haven't found mine yet, but I do have an appreciation for all that is out there when it comes to movement and dancing. This is why I jump on every chance I can to see a dance recital or participate in workshops like these. I think I will enjoy this weekend's event because Hip Hop is so raw and dramatic. It's not controlled or precise. It's about motion and just being yourself. I like how free-flowing it is and how much energy goes into it. It's a beautiful form and as far as I see we don't have too many, if any, dance studios that focus on it to the extent that this weekend will. I am excited and I anticipate seeing a lot of dance-a-holics out there as well."
Part proceeds from the weekend dance workshop will go to the Bilney Lane Children's Home. Registration forms can be obtained at Splash Dance in the Harbour Bay Shopping Plaza. People can also arrive one hour early on Saturday to register.
Hip Hop workshop
When: Saturday, March 10
Where: New Providence Community Center, Blake Road
Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Musicians & Dancers Take Centre Stage for “Love That Child”
Concert to Aid Local Children’s Homes
Attendees will be treated to a kaleidoscope of talent when young Bahamian musicians and dance troupes join forces with award-winning Touch of Class dancers from Philadelphia to raise funds for the Ranfurly Home and the Children’s Emergency Hostel. The “Love That Child” benefit concert sponsored by BOB will be held on Sunday, January 15 at the Rainforest Theatre, Wyndham Nassau Resort.
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Attendees will be treated to a kaleidoscope of talent when young Bahamian musicians and dance troupes join forces with award-winning Touch of Class dancers from Philadelphia to raise funds for the Ranfurly Home and the Children's Emergency Hostel. The "Love That Child" benefit concert sponsored by BOB will be held on Sunday, January 15 at the Rainforest Theatre, Wyndham Nassau Resort.
More than 13 groups will participate in the showcase which brings together local performers including Funky D, Trez Hepburn, Damien Davis, Chelsea's Kids, The Meridian School Choir, Yodephy, Dance Bahamas School, Virtue Dance, Live to Dance, Eurhythmics Dance Studio, Kaleidoscope Dance Company and Juice Unit Hip Hop Group.
A group from The Meridian School Choir will perform a pop number inspired by the hit television sitcom Glee.
"Last year's performance was nothing short of amazing. The children experienced interacting and performing with people they had seen on the big screen, they were all inspired and gained so much self confidence," said Lisa McCartney, owner of The Meridian School at Unicorn Village. "I welcome the opportunity to assist the wonderful residents of The Ranfurly Home and to afford our students an opportunity to perform."
Sharing the stage with The Meridian School Choir will be three members of Chelsea's Kids, a group of advanced musicians sponsored by Chelsea's Choice.
They may not have the years of dance experience as many of the kids that they went up against, but for six kids from The Bahamas and Nonny Cartwright's Live 2 Dance studio, their results at a recent international competition have shown them that they are on par with their counterparts. And that if dance is something they want to do with their lives, the opportunity is there to do it.
Stemarciae 'Suggy' Bain, Daniella Macre, Beth Macre, Jacob Cartwright, Charlotte Nevins and Christa Russell who range between ages of seven through 12, returned home with an armload of awards from the Star Quest dance competition in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, at the Broward Community College.
Jacob and Beth's tap duet in the age seven category, earned them the highest honor of the group -- a platinum award. The judges also awarded the duo the Prom King and Queen award. Jacob and Beth also achieved third place overall of all the duets and trios in their division. And they weren't finished yet, they also carted home a Fusion award, which is awarded to the routine the judges feel had the overall best fusion of choreography, technical execution, articulation, musicality, costume and performance quality.
The six-man group performed a jazz dance together and achieved a high gold award. They were also awarded a judges choice award for the most well rehearsed routine. The tap group achieved a high gold award as well as fifth place overall finish in their age division of more than 100 groups.
Daniella's jazz solo performance achieved her a high gold award. She was given the judges choice award for "Born To Dance" as well. Christa performed a tap solo and also received a high gold. She placed 10th overall in her division of over 150 kids.
Cartwright, the owner of Live 2 Dance and her students shed tears as the results rolled in. They went to the competition thinking they would do okay, but they did not expect to do as well as they did.
"We were all completely shocked," said Cartwright of the results. "To see them (students) crying with tears of joy ... they were ecstatic."
Cartwright's main goal in taking the children to the competition was to expose them to the wider world of dance and to show them that it's an art that is supported.
"Everyone wants their child to have a more secure job, so my goal with the kids was to have them go away and see there are so many other people that are trying to achieve the dream of becoming a professional dancer. I found a competition I felt I could take them to and they would be able to compete in a friendly environment and make friends in the dance community and be exposed to other dancers and be inspired by them. Since I've only been open since September 2011, my kids haven't had a whole lot of training under their belt, so it was a way for them to see other dancers that have been training for several years and become inspired," she said.
Cartwright chose the six students for the competition because she felt they could handle her being tough with them considering the short amount of time in which they had to prepare for the competition, as compared to them just going to class and doing their normal class routines.
"I knew I could really push these six, and they wouldn't get upset if I yelled at them and that type of thing," she said.
The dance instructor is hoping the showing by this group inspires their peers at the studio to work just as hard so that they too can be in the group.
The points the students received at the Star Quest competition was more than enough to get them an invitation to the World Finals in Virginia Beach, Virginia, July 14-21. At World Finals they will perform the same routines again, but the competition will be tougher at that level.
"They understand that and are ready and willing to go and give it their best shot," said Cartwright.
After taking six of her students off to an international competition and seeing them do well, words almost failed her.
"The way that I feel now being able to watch my students go on stage and perform what they've learned from me ... nothing can compare to that on any level. It's absolutely the best feeling I've ever had," she said.
The Live 2 Dance students will perform their end-of-year recital on June 15 at the Rainforest Theatre at the Wyndham. After that they will step up their training daily in preparation for the Virginia competition.
And Cartwright herself knows exactly what it takes to make it in the world of dance. She started dancing at the age of three in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, dancing throughout high school and earning a bachelor's degree in dance from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She moved to Los Angeles where she achieved success. She's danced in the Austin Powers
movies; danced in commercials for Taco Bell, Gap and American Express. She also did Lou Bega's "Mambo Number 5." But she says her biggest achievement was being signed on as the full-time choreographer for American pop star Aaron Carter. Cartwright began dancing on tour for Carter when he was nine years old. By the time he was 11, she was signed on as his full-time choreographer and choreographed three of his world tours and all of the music videos for four of his albums. She toured for years with Cher and has danced on the Grammy Awards and the Kid's Choice Awards. She's also performed on Ellen DeGeneres' and Jay Leno's talk shows.
Cartwright brought her dance expertise to The Bahamas after she met and fell in love with a Bahamian, Robert Cartwright, who she met while in The Bahamas choreographing for the Michael Jordan Golf Tournament show. They engaged in a long distance relationship between The Bahamas and Los Angeles for a year before she decided to hang it up professionally and move to The Bahamas and marry him. She had been looking forward to teaching, but she credits her husband with convincing her to open her studio in September 2011 in the Shirley Street Plaza.
Top Classic Junior Solo
1st place - Andrea Pombo Calderin - "Time To Say Goodbye" - Just Dance It!
2nd place - Angelica Manduley - "Rabbit Tango" - Dance Unlimited
3rd place - Lauren Morris - "Stupid Cupid" - Dance Unlimited
4th place - Gabriella C. Gonzalez - "Hound Dog" - Dance Unlimited
5th place - Maria Sol Garcia - "Fly" - Dance Unlimited
6th place - Carolina Rionda - "Le Jazz Hot" - Dance Unlimited
7th place - Ruby Alvarado - "Paper Skin" - Miami Dance Company
8th place - Trini Grinspan - "Against All Odds" - Just Dance It!
9th place - Samantha Gutierrez - "Show Off" - Miami Dance Company
10th place - Christa Russell - "Tightrope" - Live 2 Dance - Nassau, Bahamas
Top Classic Petite Duet/Trio
1st place - "My Favorite Things" - ABC Dance Studio - Jussara Zerbino, Juliana Zerbino
2nd place - "Remember Me" - Dance Unlimited - Jossie Stern
3rd place - "Brokenhearted" - Live 2 Dance- Nassau, Bahamas - Nonny Cartwright
4th place - "Mix It Up" - Dance FX - Joan Bartoletti, Julie Bartoletti-Brown
5th place - "Both Of Us" - Xpressit Dance Center - Raquel Lopez
Top Classic Junior Small Group
1st place - "Room Of Angel" - Impact Dance Studios - Elizabeth Keeler
2nd place - "Dumbing Down Of Love" - Peaches School Of Dance - Leslie Gettis, Alison Aslaender
3rd place - "Bring It Back" - Impact Dance Studios - Elizabeth Keeler
4th place - "Kaji" - Peaches School Of Dance - Leslie Gettis, Alison Aslaender
5th place - "Chocolate" - Live 2 Dance- Nassau, Bahamas - Nonny Cartwright
Petite/Junior Fusion Award
"Brokenhearted" - Live 2 Dance- Nassau, Bahamas - Nonny Cartwright
The spirit of dancing is in everyone's soul but how people set that spirit free is up to them. Many people may choose to ignore it, but for the brave few it becomes second nature. For those people looking for a way to set their dancing soul free and finally put a little more rhythm in their step participating in the second annual Dance for Life Dance Workshop is the ticket.
The two-hour professional dance lesson with world class ballroom dance champion Eddie Rivera from Orlando, Florida will be held on Sunday, June 10 at Club One, Sandyport.
"Whether you have two left feet or are naturally inclined to the graceful movement of dancing I believe that everyone can dance. It may take time and practice to be good, but I think it is a worthwhile thing to give dance a try. It's a really freeing experience," said Indira Demeritte-Francis, co-organizer of the event. "So it's wonderful to put on this dance workshop. This event will be a great way to get people who never took dancing seriously to see what salsa and ballroom dancing is all about and get over their fears enough to give it a try."
This workshop will serve as a pre-show to the upcoming Dance For Life Salsa and Ballroom Dance Extravaganza to be held on Saturday, June 23 in the Imperial Ballroom at Atlantis.
Participating in the workshop with Rivera will provide dancers to get in some practice with the Latin dances and ballroom dance steps and receive constructive advice from an expert on how to improve their technique. The workshop is open to people of all ages, and families are encouraged to attend and have fun in this entertaining afternoon event.
"Even if people don't want to dance in the show we still want to encourage a sense of togetherness in families and show how powerful and useful a tool dancing can be to inspire people to be more positive and carefree," said Demeritte-Francis.
She said life can be stressful, but dancing is something everyone loves and that there is something about it that just allows people to relax and put things in better perspective. She hopes people will take a break from their everyday life, come out and have fun for a few hours.
Dance for Life
But for those who prefer to watch from the sidelines the Dance for Life red carpet event should be right up their alley. The night will be a melting pot of culture and excitement with amateur salsa dancing, a pro-am exhibition. International Latin and ballroom dancing champions will strut their stuff to make the night even more spectacular.
"If 'Dancing with the Stars' is your kind of show, then Dance for Life will be a great event for you to attend," said Demeritte-Francis. "Attendees will be able to see people they know dancing with pros in amazing exhibition. This is something that the old and young will enjoy. It will be lively and entertaining."
The show will be divided into two segments. People with premium tickets will enjoy a three-course meal which will be served from 7 p.m. in the Imperial Ballroom. Entertainment will be provided by Sapphire Ensemble, a young Bahamian jazz fusion group. Their unique style of music will set the mood for the main event which kicks off at 9 p.m.
The main event will feature over 40 dancers ages five-years-old to 60, with skillsets that range from amateur to professional. The first segment of the event will be the local championship for the novice salsa, vachata, merengue, tango, cha cha and advanced salsa. The second portion of the show will feature 12 couples competing in the advanced levels of the Latin dances. It will be an exciting night of movement and grace.
"We wanted this event to be exciting and attractive. We wanted to involve as many people as possible which is why we are having the local competition where anyone can enter and compete, no matter their skill level," she said. "We also wanted to showcase other dances people don't know too much about like foxtrot, waltz, ramba and mambo. So we will have several exciting showcases you will not want to miss."
Performing with Rivera will be Fayvin Duffy from Orlando, ballroom dancing champs Paolo Di Lorenzo and Liene Darbiniece from New York and Sandro Virag, a Latin dancing and ballroom champion from Hungary who will perform elite level dances and be a part of the Pro-Am showcase.
An added feature of the night will be The Bahamas' 12 member salsa team opening the night with an engaging dance exhibition. This will give people a taste of what the young team consisting of dancers ages eight to 22-years-old have been doing and how their talents have grown in the last two years.
"I'm excited about this event and the Bahamian people seeing firsthand what salsa and ballroom dancing is all about. It shows me Bahamians can adapt to any discipline and make it their own," said Demeritte-Francis. "What you will see at the exhibit will be a meshing of cultures and abilities like never before. We use our own dance steps to make salsa and the Latin dances something different. The show is going to be nothing short of spectacular. It will be extremely different and something I am sure Bahamians will appreciate."
For reservations and tickets, telephone 376-2776 or 364-4941.
When: Sunday, June 10
Where: Club One, Sandyport
Time: 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Cost: $35 for one hour session, $55 for two hour
Dance For Life
When: Saturday, June 23
Where: Imperial Ballroom, Atlantis
TIme: 7 p.m., 8:30 is dinner, general - showcase at 9pm
Cost: Premium $200, general $75
A group of dancers and musicians promoting Bahamian culture abroad will be presenting their talents during a special show tonight at the National Center for the Performing Arts on Shirley Street.
Under the theme of "Three Hearts With Love", the Bahamian Dance Theater Company presents a special concert featuring troupes from the local dance community and highlighting three talented Bahamian concert dancers - Mervin Smith, Denton Gay and Mychal Bryan.
"It's very rare in our country to find concert dance - dance that focuses on modern, contemporary and jazz," points out Mervin Smith, who besides helping to form the company in 2009 also acts as its artistic director.
"Our mission and vision at BDTC is to promote arts and culture through dance. We've lost that appreciation for performance, but this is the future and this is what is going on in The Bahamas."
Indeed, these three gifted young men continue to study dance abroad, giving them a chance to perform globally as well, making them true cultural ambassadors of The Bahamas who now share their talents with the Bahamian public during the BDTC's concert season.
The highlight will be their main dance, "Primitive: Male" to the song "Oya (Primitive Fire)" by Babatunde Olatunji, where they hope to give tribute to the male dancer as an important cultural figure. As male dancers themselves, they have faced prejudice and difficulty both professionally and socially, which they hope they can help the audience replace with admiration and awe.
"It embodies the essence of the male as a dancer," says Smith. "You get to see how the male interacts on a stage with other males and own our bodies, our space, who we are, and appreciative of the fact that we are males and we can present ourselves to this form of dance."
This idea of being true to oneself and finding strength in one's identity runs throughout their three solo performances - indeed, it was the thought behind the theme of sharing what's in three hearts.
For Smith, who studies Dance and Theater at Lehman College in New York and who is an alumnus of the esteemed Alvin Ailey Dance School, his dance, "Everybody Has Got Their Something" to Nikka Costa is meant to honor individuals' special talents.
"It tells you that everyone of us in our own space and ways have something to give and offer," he says. "I want this piece to tell people to follow their heart, that they have something to say and do because they will touch lives. People need to be uplifted and inspired."
For dancer Mychal Bryan, this solo performance, "Struggles in the Dark" to the "music" of a speech by Charlie Chaplain made in the 1950s, is a time to reflect on the perseverance of the individual.
"It's about humanity and the ways we get trapped in societies and how we struggle to exist and feel and stretch beyond ourselves to open up to humanness," he explains.
His dance will also be performed at a production at his school, The Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica, where he is also a part-time student at Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts. A talented individual, Bryan also performs with L'Acado, A United Caribbean Dance Force, under the artistic direction of Dr. L'Antoinette Osunide Stines.
The third solo performance by Denton Gay, "Who You Are", after the song by Jessie J., celebrates individuality despite all odds.
"It's about being true to oneself, true to who you are and not conforming to society," he says.
Besides being the rehearsal director for BDTC, Gay studies dance and business administration at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. Once he's completed his studies, he hopes to venture to New York City and eventually choreograph professionally at his own dance studio.
Indeed the night is all about helping these three young dancers to continue to achieve their goals to promote the joy of dance - all proceeds from the tickets will help them to continue on with their studies.
"Dance helps you connect with people on a spiritual level," points out Mervin Smith. "You can tell stories and express through movement what people want to say but can't."
Besides their time in the spotlight, the show will feature a variety of other dancers and routines from BDTC's repertoire: the jazzy "Suite-T Connection", the playful "Bahamian Fables: Once Upon a Time", the mini-cabaret "Stage A Blaze" and "Soul to The Caribbean" featuring mime work by the Lenelle Michelle Mime Company. Tonight's show will be a true reflection of how far dance has come and can continue to grow and challenge audiences.
Yet the evening is more than dance - indeed, BDTC is about promoting all Bahamian arts and culture and to that effect features a young and very talented musician making waves regionally and globally.
Talbert Williams will be presenting his original work, "Beautiful Soul", that interprets the poignant theme of the night.
"'Beautiful Soul' is that feeling where you see your love and you know what it is, but you can't put your finger on it," he says. "I hope the audience connects with me on that level."
Emerging on the music scene as a child prodigy in the National Children's Choir, Williams has continued on a great path of writing, composing and recording inspirational music. It has not only earned him several National Arts Competition Awards in soloist singing, but also regional Marlin Awards in Talent Gospel Search for Inspirational Recording of the Year.
Besides just finishing his studies abroad at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy where he studied musical theatre, Williams has performed even as far as China.
Indeed, these young artists are making exciting waves around the globe and promise to put on a dazzling evening of song and dance when they come together. Attending the performance tonight will not only give audiences a great insight into where Bahamian modern dance and music is heading in a globalized world but also will be a show of support for these young artists who promise to make it big in their craft worldwide.
"Three Hearts With Love" premieres during a special evening performance tonight at 7 p.m. at the National Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $10. For reservations, more information or to make a donation, call 362-0622 or 436-7710.
If you're a fan of the ABC network show "Dancing With The Stars," then you don't want to miss the Bahamian version to this dancing showcase as Bahamas Salsa Social Network hosts "A Dance For A Life," a dance and ballroom showcase that promises to be spectacular.
From start to finish you will be enthralled by the whirlwind of excitement as the dancers take to the dance floor to perform merengue, salsa and the cha-cha-cha in a celebration of movement on Saturday, June 25 in the Imperial Ballroom at the Atlantis resort.
"This event is the first of its kind that Bahamas Salsa Social Network in association with World Promotions Inc. is putting on and we are excited," says event organizer Indira Francis. "It is a ballroom showcase experience, and it will be fantastic. So many dances that you see on television and wish you could see in real life will be featured at this event live. It will be so amazing that people who don't even like dance will come out and be impressed because this will be your own Bahamian stars performing with international people. It is exciting because our motto is live, dance, laugh and have fun. And if that is what you are looking to do then this is where you need to be. It gives you liberty and gives your family a good, different event to attend together. I feel that we don't have enough of this locally and this is a good opportunity to experience something different."
To jump-start the evening, a 12-member Bahamas salsa dance team will showcase their skills in an opening salsa formation that will blow you away. And a junior team is expected to set the tone for the night with their cha-cha-cha performance and show you just what Bahamian dancers can do.
"There will be so much going on ... I guess you can say that this will be like a night of dancing with the stars," says Francis. "It will be exciting and something that the public is bound to enjoy. This is so much more than you can expect and you will really need to see this for yourself to appreciate just how amazing this will be."
This evening won't only be a beautiful localized dance expo but a competition that will crown the first Bahamian dance champions in the junior, youth and adult divisions, as well as more than 30 dance partnerships comprised of people from all walks of life stepping onto the dance floor to perform routines that will razzle and dazzle the audience.
To make this event even more outstanding, world champion professional salsa couple Thomaz Papkala and Fransiska Yardanova will heat up the dance floor with their grace and style, and charm you with their skills in dances like the Viennese waltz, foxtrot and the mamba. Other thrilling dances you can expect to see throughout the evening include the spicy hot salsa, the Dominican Republic's bachata and classic merengue.
Persons who want to have an even more fulfilling experience can opt for a VIP pass which entitles them to an added dinner experience at Atlantis before the event begins. A family-safe mix and mingle after-party will be the perfect ending to the evening.
Francis says "A Dance for A Life" is a timely and all-encompassing theme for this debut event as she aspires to reach out to all persons in their various walks of life through the avenue of dance.
"We have a lot of youth that we expose to dance through BSSN and we wanted children to use this as a part of their life in teaching them life skills. Through dance they learn a lot of things about life like discipline, comradery, conflict resolution, partnership and how to communicate. For older people it brings them back to life. For some people who are not able to dance but still enjoy it, someone else dancing for them is enhancing their lives. There are just so many suggestions in the theme I just wanted to capture just how diverse dance can be as it relates to the different people who participate in it."
Even when the final dance has ended and the music stops on Saturday the excitement of the event will continue. On Sunday, June 26 a special workshop will be held at Club One, Sandyport with the world champion salsa couple as the featured instructors. There will be classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced as well as a special session on lifts and drops in dance.
"This is a really good opportunity for persons with dance skills or without [dance skills] to come and get advice and a lesson from international stars. My husband and fellow founder of Bahamas Salsa Social Network and I have gotten a really good response from people with our class at Hardrock on Thursday evenings so it is clear that there is interest. This is a really fun event and we are looking forward to people coming out and enjoying it."
For a truly dazzling weekend event that is safe for your entire family, you do not want to miss The Bahamas Salsa Social Network's dance and ballroom showcase experience.
General tickets can be purchased at Galleria Cinemas. To reserve VIP tickets contact BSSN on 364-4941 or 376-2776.
The Dance Workshop with Professional Salsa Champions
"A Dance For A Life" Ballroom Showcase Experience
When: Saturday, June 25
Where: Imperial Ballroom, The Atlantis Resort & Casino
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: $70 general, $60 children and $200 VIP
Dance Workshop with the 2010 World Professional Salsa Champions
When: Sunday, June 26
Where: Club One, Sandyport
Time: Beginner level: 2 p.m.-3 p.m. ($30)
Intermediate/Advanced Level: 3 p.m.- 4 p.m. ($40)
Lifts & drops: 4 p.m.-5 p.m. ($40)
Cost: Two-session combo ($65)
The Bahamian dance community is in mourning with the news of the loss of two dance icons.
Alexander and Violette Zybine died tragically from carbon monoxide poisoning in their home in Mexico early this week.
Though only spending a decade in The Bahamas, the pair managed to make a major impact on the cultural development of dance in the country.
In the late 1960s, Hubert Farrington met fellow performer Alexander Zybine at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Having established the Nassau Civic Ballet in Nassau, Farrington enlisted Zybine and his wife to travel to The Bahamas and look after the newly-formed company.
In 1970, the Ministry of Education offered him a teaching position at C.C. Sweeting Senior High School, where he worked for two years. When the abandoned Villa Doyle on West Hill Street (now the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas) was declared to be a center of cultural activity, Alexander and Violette began dance classes on the property while Kayla Lockhart-Edwards and Cederick Scott offered instruction in music and drama.
Out of this, Alexander formed a non-profit dedicated to dance. The New Breed Dancers accepted and taught any Bahamian student free of charge to promote the art of dance in the community.
This group made a huge impact locally and internationally, taking part in the annual Goombay Summer Folkloric Show in Nassau in the 1970s, dancing as part of the Inaugural Independence Celebration in 1973, and performing successful shows regionally, in major U.S. cities, in Mexico, and even in Europe.
Part of Alexander's brilliance as a dancer is that he used classical ballet techniques in an innovative way to expresss folk traditions. He was known for using local music for his choreography. In fact, when his dance group traveled to the Cultural Olympics as part of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico to perform as a representative for The Bahamas, they performed "Sammie Swain", originally choreographed by Alexander as a ballet.
Through the pair's efforts, they managed to form many successful classical dancers, including Lawrence Carroll, Christina Johnson, Paula Knowles, Ednol Wright and Victoria McIntosh.
As teachers, the pair's opposite personalities meshed well to form dancers both serious and joyful about their craft. Violette's no-nonsense approach, pushing her students' boundaries to get their very best, was offset by Alexander's kind encouragement, giving their fledgling Bahamian dancers a sense of empowerment in their talents that few teachers had ever encouraged before.
"Who I am now has so much to do with what Mr. Zybine did for me," says his ex-student and an extraordinary dance teacher, Christina Johnson.
"I felt like I wasn't always the brightest, but he made you feel like the best. When I look at my life and my achievements, it's all thanks to him. He always told us, 'Never stop moving.'"
"We were all like family," she continues, remembering their many hours of practice together as the New Breed Dancers every evening after school. "We were his family; we were his life."
Indeed, the Zybines kept in touch with every person they came across, especially students, even if only for a brief time. Though they moved to Mexico in the mid-1970s where they continued to inspire countless lives with the power of dance, they sent frequent e-mails to the community of dancers they formed in The Bahamas, becoming lifelong teachers and family members to many Bahamians.
During each visit to Nassau - once in 1994 and again in 2007, where the New Breed Dancers threw a celebration in their honor - the pair continued to teach, offering guest instruction and inspiration to local institutions of dance like the Nassau Dance Company.
Indeed, the ripple effects of their short times in Nassau are still being felt in the country today, making them true icons in The Bahamas.
Like many cultural icons, however, their presence unfortunately remains unknown by the larger population. It's all the more reason to continue honoring their memory locally, says Robert Bain of Dance Bahamas, who was encouraged by the Zybines during one of their visits to continue to lift up dance in the community.
"It's a sad day for dance," says Bain. "Whatever we have achieved in dance in this country is partially responsible to Alex and we shouldn't forget that. We shouldn't forget him."
Fresh from its win at the Florida's Youth Ballroom Blitz, the Bahamas Salsa Social Network (BSSN) is now preparing to waltz and salsa across a local stage - a move that the dance company hopes will attract international groups and start what could be an avenue to foster dance tourism.
It's going to be a showcase of talent when young Bahamian musicians and dance troupes join forces with award-winning Touch of Class dancers from Philadelphia to raise funds for the Ranfurly Home and the Children's Emergency Hostel.
More than 13 groups will participate in the showcase which brings together local performers including Funky D, T'rez Hepburn, Damien Davis, Chelsea's Kids, the Meridian School Choir, Yodephy, Dance Bahamas School, Virtue Dance, Live to Dance, Eurhythmics Dance Studio, Kaleidoscope Dance Company and Juice Unit Hip Hop Group. A group from The Meridian School Choir will perform a pop number inspired by the hit television show "Glee".
The "Love That Child" benefit concert sponsored by Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) will be held on Sunday, January 15, at the Rainforest Theatre, Wyndham Nassau Resort at 3 p.m.
"Last year's performance was nothing short of amazing. The children experienced interacting and performing with people they had seen on the big screen, they were all inspired and gained so much self-confidence," said Lisa McCartney, owner of The Meridian School at Unicorn Village. "I welcome the opportunity to assist the wonderful residents of The Ranfurly Home and to afford our students an opportunity to perform."
Sharing the stage with the Meridian School Choir will be three members of Chelsea's Kids, a group of advanced musicians sponsored by Chelsea's Choice.
"I think that music is a very important part of a civil society. Kids who have a talent need to be in a position where they can really hone in on those skills," said Tina Knowles, owner of Chelsea's Choice. "We all live in the same community and we all need to encourage and foster the growth of children which includes music."
Adding to the musical talents of local vocalists will be up-and-coming dancers from troupes including Live to Dance. The Live to Dance students will perform three numbers inspired by Broadway and hip-hop with a special song and dance rendition of "Marry You" by pop phenomenon Bruno Mars.
"The Love That Child concert is very inspirational. Learning to give back and working hard to do something great for such a wonderful cause is important for kids to learn at a young age," said Nonny Cartwright, owner and operator of Live to Dance Studio.
The benefit concert hosted by Funky D is named after local musician and former Ranfurly Home resident Damien Davis' original single "Love That Child", which was released by BOB and Davis in November 2010. All proceeds from the CD sales aid the Ranfurly Home and the hostel where Davis grew up. He will perform the song live at the concert.
The "Love That Child" benefit concert is being held in conjunction with the "Philly Connection" professional dance workshop on Saturday, January 14, also hosted by Apalucci and Rawlings. Registration for the one-day workshop is open to interested dancers ages five and older regardless of skill level. Every dancer who participates in the workshop will be invited to perform a group number in the "Love That Child" concert the following day.
"Love That Child" is the follow-up to the highly successful concert "Standing Ovation International Live Tour" held last summer, performed by the cast of the tween hit movie "Standing Ovation". Initial efforts raised more than $10,000 for the Ranfurly Homes for Children and Children's Emergency Hostel.
Tickets are available for a donation of $5 for students and $15 for adults. Tickets may be purchased at all BOB branches in Nassau, Splashdance in the Harbour Bay Shopping Centre, The Meridian School at Unicorn Village and Diane Phillips & Associates on East Bay Street. For corporate tables and group ticket inquiries, contact Diane Phillips & Associates at telephone 394-0677.
LOVE THAT CHILD BENEFIT CONCERT
When: Sunday, January 15
Where: Rainforest Theatre, Wyndham Nassau Resort
Cost: $5 for students, $15 adults
Time: Sunday at 3 p.m.
Ticket outlets: BOB branches in Nassau, Splashdance in the Harbour Bay Shopping Centre, The Meridian School at Unicorn Village and Diane Phillips & Associates on East Bay Street.