After a long break, the Barbados Dance Theatre Company resumed face-to-face classes today at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society Wall Garden Theatre with significantly less students in attendance.
Artistic Director John Hunte says although all involved are happy to be in each other’s company once again, the Theatre Company has lost “quite a few students”, due to the challenges of facilitating online classes.
Hunte said: “One, we would have had challenges with parents and children competing for the same devices. And of course, by the instructions, even though we would have reduced the prices considerably because they were online, it was still a challenge for some parents who would have been challenged by not having employment. So, we would have lost maybe about 50 per cent of our student population”.
However, during an interview with Barbados TODAY, Hunte indicated that with support from stakeholders, such as the Barbados Museum, which is allowing the dance company to conduct classes at its Theatre two days per week, there is hope that the numbers will rise again.
“We are hoping that we can get our family back and get our capacity back up to the 80 students or so that we had before COVID hit,” he said.
Hunte, who indicated that instructors were also excited about being able to once again teach, is encouraging Barbadians to sign up their children from as young as three years old for modern jazz, African and ballet classes.
“Our main initiative right now is to just get everybody back out. We want to let people know that we are following COVID protocols and that we have this space and other spaces that we can come together. And once we get our family back then we can work on whether we want to have a showing, or whether we want to have a concert. Of course, we still have the issue of rebuilding our space that was burnt down in 2019, but for now we just want to get our family back,” he said.
Hunte is also appealing to corporate Barbados and private citizens who may be interested in assisting the Dance Theatre with its rebuilding process, to do so. (AH)