A “significant reduction” in the budget for the Community Dance Fest has meant that organizers have no choice but to implement cost cutting measures.
Chief Community Development Officer in the Community Development Department, Sandra Greenidge, however stated that the overall percentage of reduction was not yet available as the trimming of expenditure was yet in process.
Speaking at the launch of the Dance Fest grand finale at the Community Development Department at the Warrens Office Complex in Warrens, St Michael, she also noted that the event, which will be on Errol Barrow Day on January 21, will be returned to Wildey Gymnasium as a result of the scaling down.
Normally there are four preliminaries and four zone finals, but this year, because of the new measures, the Northern, St Michael Northern and St Michael Southern zones have been combined, while the southern zone remains, reducing the zone finals to two. As for the cut in their advertising budget, Greenidge said it had resulted in the event being seemingly “low-key”. Still, the Chief Community
Development Officer was of the view, after meeting with several performers, who appeared ready and raring to go, “the festival will be the huge success that it always is”. Prices for tickets for children have nevertheless dropped by 50 per cent.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Care and Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Ernesta Drakes, also said she believed that despite “tremendous challenges” faced, Dance Fest 2014 would still be a success. And she revealed in spite of the cutbacks the number of entrants had not dwindled, as there was a record number of junior entrants.
This year the event was only able to attract two major sponsors in WIBISCO and the City of Bridgetown Credit Union. Drakes reasoned that this was due to many other businesses, as well cutting back on their expenditure, and she thanked both companies for seeing the importance of investing in the youth.
On behalf of WIBISCO, Clifford Gooding–Edgehill expressed the company’s unwavering support for the youth. He said: “We believe in supporting any event that sees us build our community, and we see this event as being different. We are very excited and happy.”
So too has the COB seen the importance of young people that they have pledged sponsorship of the event through to 2016.
“We see ourselves as community-focused and ever cognizant of the social landscape. In light of this, we have committed ourselves to sculpting an environment for our young people which empowers them and encourages excellence in a plethora of areas inclusive of athletics, academics and the arts.
“Children are our most precious resource and we are dedicated to the preservation of this resource through the endorsement of positive attitudes and activities in which our youths are involved. It is with this backdrop that we are extremely happy to partner with the Community Development Department in seeing this competition to fruition, as we sincerely believe it is of tremendous short-term and long-term value to the Barbadian landscape,” said COB chief executive officer Steve Belle.
Competiting at this year’s grand final in the senior competition are Motivation Dancers, Multifarious, Olos, Reactive Squad, Base Control, ADL Adrenalin, Element and Xtra Hype. In the junior category will be Sharon Primary, Grazette Unique Dance Group, Northern Stars, Christ Church Girls, Praise Academy Of Dance Promise, Praise Academy Of Dance Destiny and St George Commanders.