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Wednesday 22 January 2020
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TT dancers top international competition

The 22-member Caribbean School of Dancing Ltd team with their 11 trophies.  -
The 22-member Caribbean School of Dancing Ltd team with their 11 trophies. -

THE Caribbean School of Dancing Ltd came first in five categories and placed second and third in several other categories at the All Dance International Competition in Florida.

The dance school, based at Dere Street, Port of Spain, participated in the annual competition held in Orlando from November
24-December 1.

A 22-member team –between the ages of 12 and 17–entered 16 different categories in the competition. It got first place in the open category duet (tap) youth, contemporary trio youth, small group ethnic youth, large group contemporary youth and large group lyrical.

Bridgette Wilson, principal of Caribbean School of Dancing Ltd, told Newsday this was the second time at the competition. She said they were more aware of what to expect this time.

However, the competition was “a much bigger and stiffer competition than last year,” she said.

Wilson said seeing other contestants prepare backstage was a “huge eye-opener” for the school’s soloists, duets and trios.

“There was a lot of anxiety, which led to a lot of fright and stress crying. When the girls had finished...they knew they had a very tough competition...so we had to talk them through what they were experiencing.

The group before performing its final competition piece in the large group ethnic category. The piece was called Calypso Rhapsody.

“They thought they had not done well enough. We had a few hours to wait before the results and so that anxiety really took a toll. Then we had to calm them down and speak to them to make them understand that this is a part of the stress of competition.

“Everybody is still proud of them no matter what, even if they placed or did not place,” Wilson said.

But the students were successful. Wilson said the experience helped them recognise she was not asking a lot of them, but her requests were standards accepted around the world.

Wilson said the school would enter other competitions but more research was needed,
as it was quite costly.

“I would be researching to see where the next sets of competitions are that we would like to try our hand at.”

For Wilson, entering competitions is important as it is a different way of performing.

“Yes, you get performance experience when you have school shows, or when we do performances for corporate (events) or things like that. But there is a different energy that comes with a competition. I know a lot of people do not consider dance a sport but it is a sport as well as an art.

The four soloists Cheyenne Carrington-Greene, left, Anika Robertson, Chinara Bereaux and Isabelle Julien. -

“You can run a marathon and you don’t have to look pretty running a marathon. When you’re doing a dance, you still have to have the poise and composure to be able to perform at the levels that you’re expected to perform at to be able to win.”

Competitions train the students to work well under pressure, show
them how much time is needed to study their craft and
teach them
time management. It also teaches them to be well-rounded people, Wilson said.

The team placed second and third in the neoclassical solo youth; third in the contemporary solo youth; third in group lyrical youth; second in the small group open (tap) youth; and second in the large group ethnic youth.

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