THE DEPARTED: Dance legend Sheila Barnett (1928-2011)
The passing on the weekend of Sheila Barnett OD has left the board and staff of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) mourning the loss of another cultural icon. Mrs. Barnett worked with the JCDC for more than 25 years, providing unstinting support to the development of the National Dance Competition. Barnett was equally renowned for her pioneering involvement with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC).
“From as early as the 1960s, her monumental contribution to the Jamaican dance landscape positively developed a deep appreciation, knowledge and understanding of a wide variety of folk and traditional dance forms," deputy executive director of the JCDC, Delroy Gordon, noted in a press release Wednesday. "This in turn, developed and nurtured a talented cadre of distinguished dancers from the competition that continues to build the rich array of Jamaican dance expressions for national identity and assertion.”
Barnett, one of the co-founders of the NDTC – and the Jamaica School of Dance – passed away last Saturday at the Andrews Memorial Hospital. She was 83.