The youth in Barbados are up to positive things, some better known than others, be it in sports or other activities. Damon Boucher, an avid dancer, is among them.
The 19-year-old student of the University of the West Indies (UWI) who is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering, has been dancing seriously for the last five years. He plans on continuing his passion.
Boucher describes himself as “a very aspiring individual, very focused and determined as well as being diverse.” His favourite dance form is the Jamaican and Caribbean-style ‘pasa pasa’.
The former Combermere student’s interest in dance was sparked at a very young age, by watching a number of television shows.
“When I was younger, from just watching television like certain Jamaican shows such as Tempo and so on, I would be just in front the TV watching the dancers and following their styles,” Boucher recalled.
At 14, Boucher got involved in his first dance group, the Combermere-based Eva Clean Dancers, which he founded. It was initially made up of five guys. The group’s popularity quickly grew and it toured many secondary schools, performing at a number of public and private shows as well as school concerts before finally disbanding a year ago.
Boucher has broadened his scope of dance beyond the ‘pasa pasa’ to more contemporary genres. “I also do African, Modern, Jazz and Folk Dance,” he said. “I practise dancing multiple times a week, be it at home or making my way to the dance studio to practise and master new routines.”
Also a member of the Barbados Dance Theatre, Boucher has moved from just being a student to one of the group’s teachers and choreographers. It allows him to pass on his knowledge to other students. He believes that Barbados has many talented dancers but some don’t take it as seriously as others do.
Boucher urges young dancers not to limit themselves to the Barbadian market but to use tools at their disposal and think outside the box when it comes to marketing themselves and their talents.
During the 2016 Crop Over season, Boucher had the opportunity to perform at the One Love Show featuring Machel Montano. He described it as a “great experience” after performing previously for the likes of Peter Ram, Stiffy Star Quality and Lil Rick.
“It was new experience for me. Dancing in front of such a massive crowd was a great feeling along with the huge Soca acts,” he said.
Dance, like any extra curriculum activity, takes up a lot of time, so balancing dance and school is a tough task but one which Boucher thinks he can handle with proper time management and planning.
Having to focus on his UWI studies, Boucher believes that he can still dedicate the necessary amount of time to practising his art form as well as beating the books to achieve good grades.
Boucher has high praises for the Barbados Dance Theatre and head tutor Michael Goring for the progress he has been able to make thus far in his career. Being the only male in an all-female programme did not stop him from taking the opportunity to learn more about his art form, broaden his areas of dance as well as master a number of techniques.
Studying dance for a degree is not among Boucher’s plans but he sees himself being able to progress in dance. He calls for dancers to not see dancing as a seasonal thing but as an all-year affair and to put themselves out there and market their brands for the world to see.
“More avenues are needed locally for dancers to showcase their talents and pursue their love for the art form as there aren’t enough currently”, he said, positing that a lack of avenues to showcase their talents hinders the development of dancers.
Boucher hopes one day to be able to work as a back-up dancer for a top international artiste. He also hopes, later on in life, to be able to open his own dance facility in Barbados where young people can come and express themselves and turn what is seen by many as a hobby into something that can be pursued as a profession.
Good luck, Damon!