A Prospect Lefferts Gardens dance academy is heading to the Bahamas for a new dance immersion program.
The contemporary dance school AbunDance Academy is launching “AbunDance in Bahamas” — a weeklong program introducing its students to dancing styles of another culture, specifically designed to allow for proper and even exchange, said the school’s executive director.
“It’s a really going to be a unique in format — this is first time as far as I know that a group has come to Bahamas or the Caribbean and done exchange where the native people and dance teacher and vocal artist, are all teaching as well,” said Karisma Jay.
She says emphasizing both teams of American and Bahamian instructors into the dancing courses is vital in terms of cultural exchange, and adds that both sets of groups have to learn as well as borrow from one another.
“When I have house guests and they come and visit me and leave dishes in the sink or their bed unmade, I am left with the aftermath — but how do I benefit and how was I valued in the process?” said Jay.
“We are not going there to take from the Bahamas, but we’re going there to give back and we going to learn from them.”
The schools collaborating with AbunDance are Nassau-based Soulful Feet Dance Academy, Passionate Expressions Dance studio, and several more.
About 20 students accompanied by their parents and staff will be on the trip.Jay explained that the dance classes will be held from the morning to afternoon and last around eight hours.
She adds that often when groups go to other countries for dance exchange programs, the host school takes the back seat.
“Usually American groups we are the one’s charging and teaching, but not exactly fostering a deeper sense of community with the natives,” said Jay.
“But in this program the natives are adamant [about] us having a collaboration that is inherent in the program.”
The idea for the program came to fruition when Jay was contacted by a visiting student about going to the Bahamas to teach classes.
She said she felt the idea of a program would be a great opportunity for the students and could further their formal dance experience.
“I want them to have the exposure and inter-connectivity, and collective responsibly to allow us to learn from each other,” Jay said. “Especially with all that’s going on now with immigration and children,” said Jay.