Monday, 31 August 2015

ON HER MIND: Kerry-Ann Henry recalls the moments that led to her transformation as dancer extraordinaire and educator

SHE'S THE ONE: "I think my response to music is dance," shares Henry, the NDTC's ballet mistress. "I like performing, growing, exploring and learning new things."

I have been dancing since I was about seven years old, and dance has been the one constant in my life. As a Campion College old girl, there were periods when I was completely involved with my studies, at UWI Mona (Maths and Actuarial Science), the University of East Anglia (Masters in Development Studies) and the University of British Columbia (Masters in Education Technology). And I’ve played a few sports. But I’ve never, ever stopped dancing.

I’ve learned so many different life lessons from my journey through dance. Sometimes you wonder why you have a passion for a certain something, and then you realize it’s what you were called to do. Music is another passion of mine, and I think my response to music is dance. I like performing, growing, exploring and learning new things, and in a way I see myself as a perpetual student of the arts. It’s funny, but I’ll probably be going to school for the rest of my life.

But my day job as Director of the School of Dance is serious business. I’m very much in love with the education aspect of my job, and I think having that love for performance makes it easier and helps me to be a better educator and administrator. You’re also able to link your experiences from the stage to theory. It’s also about looking at policy: What do you need (as students) to compete globally? There’s also the whole aspect of planning and putting on events. Yes, it’s a lot of work but having the passion for what I do makes it all worth it.

I feel the same way about the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), which I’ve been a member of since I was 16. The curtains came down on our 2015 season at the Little Theatre recently, and I absolutely enjoyed it. It was very reflective of the theme ‘Renewal and Continuity’. We had a few new faces coming in and blending with the rest of us to put on an excellent production. Everybody in the NDTC gets along, and so it’s a lot of fun.
They say fun plus hard work equals magic, and we are the living proof of that. I’m glad that our seasons continue to reflect what the company stands for: creating and showcasing works that cross over into various different areas. But what I’ve loved most about the NDTC is the variety that defines the company. I love the breadth of our repertoire and how much I’ve grown as an artist with the company over the years.

Everybody who knows me knows that I’m all about growth. That’s one of the reasons why still being a part of Dancin’ Dynamites and helping to unearth and nurture new dance talents appeals to me so much. I really enjoy seeing the dancers grow from week to week and applying the comments that we give them – and just experiencing their energy and creativity. I want to see the show grow, provide more opportunities for the participants and reach a global audience.

In a way, that’s also a personal goal of mine. At my age (“mid-30s”), if I thank God for anything it’s for this incredible passion for dance – and the persons that I have been fortunate to meet so far on this journey. Dance is truly a wonderful thing, take it from me. It can enrich your life and give you perspective. – As told to TALLAWAH Magazine

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