PLANS are firmly in place for the rescheduled visit to Jamaica of renowned actress, director, producer, and dancer Debbie Allen for a masterclass on June 10, organised by local outfit Plié for the Arts.
The visit and master class was originally scheduled for December last year but had to be postponed due to heightened concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 at that particular time.
Marisa Benain, founder and artistic director of Plié for the Arts, explained that the masterclass will allow Allen to share her extensive training and experience with local creatives.
“It will be a masterclass of a lifetime. Miss Allen is the artistic director of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy [DADA], which is one of the largest dance studios in California. We are expecting the DADA energy in Kingston. We are trying to ensure that we have representation from most of the dance companies and groups from across the island. So to register, they have to give the name of the company or group they are a part of and the their technique level. This is great representation of most of the groups in Jamaica and we are very pleased with that. Our long-term goal is to facilitate a dance exchange with DADA,” said Benain.
Despite being unable to stage its annual events, Benain explained that, although the pandemic had restricted events and gatherings, Plié for the Arts has not been quiet for the past two years.
“We tried our best during the pandemic to [remain] active, relevant, and building the brand. Our academy for students ages 4-18 did not miss a beat. The parents were comfortable enough to have the students attend class during the period.We also had our first staging of our summer programme and international dance intensive, which featured some excellent local teachers as well as teachers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and American Ballet Theater. This year our summer programme returns with students ages 4-18. It will run from July 4-29 and students will participate and train in dance, music, theatre, fitness, voice and speech, and artistic performance quality,” Benain explained.
She also shared that the international gala, Amalgamation, will return in August, but declined to say which international performers will take to the stage in Jamaica. Over the years, Amalgamation has seen a number of international dancers performing on the Jamaican stage. They include Autumn Miller, Michael Jackson Jr, Dusty Button, and Osiel Gouneo.