Plie 2023 dance fest hosts 'Cinderella of dance'

The Plie for the Arts' Dance Festival, Amalgamation, will this year feature a number of firsts.

Plie's 2023 gala, Amalgamation: The Global Explosion of Dance, will feature Michaela DePrince, the Cinderella of dance.

She was adopted from an orphanage in Sierra Leone, taken to the United States, and has become a global star.

Born in war-torn Sierra Leone, in the midst of the country's decade-long civil war, rebels killed her father, and shortly after, her mother died of fever and starvation.

At a young age, DePrince had vitiligo, a condition that causes patches of skin to lose its colour - considered a curse of the devil in Sierra Leone.

Cinderella of dance Michaela DePrince.

She was introduced to ballet by a magazine that caught her eye, and her dreams began.

In 2014, she co-authored the book Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina, published by Random House Children's Books, with her adoptive mother. Michaela's memoir has since been published under different titles in 12 different countries.

DePrince will not only dance at Amalgamation, but will conduct four free masterclasses and participate in a dance talk, with this year's patron, Janet Rolle, with dancers from across Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Rolle is former general manager for Beyonce's Parkway Entertainment and executive vice-president and chief marketing officer for CNN Worldwide. She is currently the strategic advisor at American Ballet Theatre, after becoming its first black CEO.

Janet Rolle (Photo: Larry Busacca)

Amalgamation will this year showcase dances from seven different internationally acclaimed global dance companies on one stage in Kingston, Jamaica.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre has agreed to the performance of Ready, a solo from the most-watched modern dance in history, Revelations, choreographed by Ailey.

Other dance companies for Amalgamation are Parsons Dance, Pacific Northwest Ballet, American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, the Plie Senior and Studio Collective, and for the first time on the Amalgamation stage L'Acadco: A United Caribbean Dance Force from Jamaica.

Plie for the Arts is a culturally inspired organisation made up of artistes from various performing arts companies in Jamaica. It was founded in 2016 and is now the home of international dance gala Amalgamation, the Plie Collective, the Plie Academy, and the Plie scholarships.

Founder of L'Acadco: A United Caribbean Dance Force Dr L'Antoinette Stines (Photo: Nickii Kane)

Plie's core mandate is to further develop dance and other areas of the performing arts by facilitating and offering workshops, seminars, and international dance scholarships to Jamaican performers.

This year night one of Amalgamation will also feature a special tribute to Harry Belafonte, led by Tessanne Chin and her Voice Box Kids with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica.

Amalgamation: The Global Explosion of Dance will run July 12 and 13.

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