YOUNG AT ART: Ycats dancers performing at From the Arts with Love 2018.
THERE is no greater reward than the personal growth and sense of fulfilment that comes from being of service to others. Just ask Stacy-Lee Myrie, the Artistic Director of Ycats dance company (formerly BaSiS) which, for the past decade, has been using their ‘From the Arts with Love’ dance theatre production to raise funds for outreach projects benefiting young and needy Jamaicans.
“Our main objective is to use our time and our talents to serve humanity,” Myrie tells TALLAWAH during an interview at the Little Theatre a few days after the successful staging of Decennium 10, their tenth annual show. “We use the proceeds to do our charitable work.”
By that she means the Ycats team uses the funds to purchase appliances, clothing, school supplies and other gifts that they bring to children’s homes in and around the corporate area. So far they’ve worked with 10 homes in total, a list that includes the SOS Children’s Village, Maxfield Park and the National Children’s Home, among others.
But that’s not all. Myrie and her team have taken a deeper interest in these wards of the state, bringing them to the theatre to see the dance production. “Each year we take about 100 kids to see the show, and they really enjoy it,” she says. “They get to interact with people they don’t usually get to interact with and enjoy an experience they don’t usually get to.”
As Myrie stated in her message introducing this year’s milestone show, “Service to humanity is not just about showing passion and empathy to each other in times of need, but also engaging our hearts and minds in exercising kindness in all walks of life, regarding love in high esteem and helping to build sustainable value in our society.”
By day, Myrie is a human resources manager, a post that allows her to further indulge her love of service to others. The dance world, she adds, is where her love of the arts takes flight beyond the stage. “The passion I have for dance,” she tells TALLAWAH, “has allowed me to help people. I believe in stewardship.”
These days, Ycats pride themselves on being providers of not only dance classes but also dance gear, accessories and costume rental. Taking in their show at the Little Theatre, you are wowed by the infectious exuberance of the young performers (from Junior-A to Senior-A), the rich colour palette and exquisite costuming and the diversity of material that the choreographers supplied.
According to Myrie, the focus is now on future growth, the next 10 years of Ycats and new projects like their planned street-boys initiative. “We want to send some of those street boys to school,” Myrie explains. “The plan is to save up so we can extend this kindness to more of society’s less fortunate.”