Through CSME, Guyanese seize dance opportunities in Jamaica

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Two months after executives from HAH-R-MONY, an entertainment and performing arts production company based in Montego Bay, Jamaica, came to Guyana scoping dancers, a dozen Guyanese have taken up the opportunity in the sister CARICOM country.

On Friday last, the group of dancers from Unique Arts Entertainment left Guyana for Jamaica.

Although the offer came directly from HAH-R-MONY, the opportunity was facilitated through the CARICOM Single Market and Economy arrangement (CSME).

Heading the team is Unique Arts Entertainment Director Kelton Jennings. He explained that the 12 dancers applied at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Georgetown and were granted their CSME certificates for travel and work in Jamaica. 

The dancers who will be in Jamaica for the next 12 to 24 months will undergo training where they will learn new techniques while improving their dancing.

Housed by the company, they will be paid for these training sessions and later they will be afforded the opportunity to perform before large audiences of both local Jamaicans and visitors to the Island.

The dancers hope to be the best ambassadors they can for Guyana while in Jamaica but also to return home better and stornger than they left and ready to use their craft to contribute to national development. 

Jennings told the News Room that this is just the first batch of Guyanese dancers with more slated to travel in the coming months.

The Guyanese dancers moments before they left Guyana for Jamaica.

Started in 2009, Unique Arts Entertainment has some 150 dancers spread across Guyana of which 50 are active members.

In recent times, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company used dance to raise awareness of several social issues which came to the fore, including mental health and domestic abuse for which they received the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

That project saw the production of the first dance movie in Guyana.

Unique Arts Entertainment has also been involved in a cultural exchange project with several dance companies and schools in the region. A replication of what we have been doing on the local scene over the years to take dance and culture into schools.

Last month, with the blessing of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, the company travelled to Suriname with a contingent of 50 performers (dancers and drummers) showcasing its ‘KAYA Home in Africa’ production.

They visited several schools and held workshops and participated in Suriname’s annual emancipation activities. A part of that exchange is that Surinamese dancers are to travel to Guyana to participate in emancipation celebrations here.

The company has been invited to participate similarly in Barbados as creatives in these regional countries band together to keep culture alive while highlighting history and social ills. Dance has been a proven way of connecting with people on this front.

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