Requa recognised

Observer senior reporter

Sunday, February 17, 2019

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In 1962 Rex Nettleford and Eddy Thomas brought together 16 dancers to form the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC). Among those founding members was Barbara Grant, a young physical education teacher with a passion for dance.

Her passion for dance and dance education was recognised by the Rex Nettleford Foundation last Tuesday at the annual fund-raiser Remembering Rex which is staged in memory of the late scholar, dancer and choreographer who died in 2010.

In addition to being a founding member of the NDTC, Barbara Requa, as she has become known, was also recognised as the founder of the Jamaica School of Dance, one of the four schools which now comprise the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

“In 1967, Requa started a dance school for children in her garage; the numbers grew quickly, leading her to join Sheila Barnett who had started her own school for adults; this became the Contemporary Dance Centre which would — in partnership with The Bert Rose School — become the Jamaica School of Dance,” noted Elizabeth Buchanan Hind, executive director of the Rex Nettleford Foundation, in the citation.

“Dance and dance education have taken her across the world, delivering workshops and seminars throughout the Caribbean, the USA, Canada, Finland and others. Locally, she has worked with the Caribbean Examination Council, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, Ministry of Education and Culture and University Council of Jamaica on a variety of cultural development programmes and practical movement sessions. Though retiring as Dean of the School of Dance in 2004, Requa has remained a key figure in Jamaican dance education, continuing to teach two courses — movement studies and dance composition; she also continued to be an external adjudicator for the annual dance examinations,” she continued.

In her response, Requa was thankful for the gesture and congratulated the Foundation for its work in preserving the legacy of the Nettleford, both through the promotion of the dance works of the NDTC as well as the annual scholarships it offers.

Two university students were recipients of the Rex Nettleford scholarships this year. Brittney Miller, a final year student at The University of the West Indies majoring in Spanish, Mandarin and International Relations, received the Rex Nettleford Hall Award for Excellence. The Rex Nettleford Cornwall College Award went to Reynardo Ramsey, a student at The University of the West Indies who is pursuing a degree in pharmacology.

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