The School of Dance had its early roots in the Contemporary Dance Centre (CDC) established by Sheila Barnett, Barbara Requa and Bert Rose in the late 1960s. The CDC offered training in Dance for physical education teachers as well as a junior programme for children. In 1970, the National Dance Theatre Company, which was founded by Professor Rex Nettleford in collaboration with Barnett, Requa and Rose, formed the Jamaica School of Dance. Recognizing the need for appropriate training in the art form of Dance, the School offered professional training to performers, choreographers and dance educators. Some of the teaching staff included noted dance practitioners such as Barnett, Nettleford, Barry Moncrieffe and Yvonne Dacosta.
The School of Dance trains students for professional careers in dance education, performance and choreography, offering courses in a wide variety of techniques to ensure that students are expansively nurtured in the art of dance. The curriculum includes technical and performance studies in Jamaican,Caribbean and West African Folk Forms as well as Modern, Ballet and Jazz techniques. Studies in Dance Theory are also critical to the training of our students as they engage in such courses as Dance History, Kinesiology, Dance Composition, Improvisation, Performance & Repertory and Theatre Arts Management.
The School has developed a distinguished international reputation over the years through its alumni body and faculty. Our graduates have performed or currently perform with such highly acclaimed international and local dance companies as Garth Fagan Dance, Disney’s The Lion King, Ballet Creole, The National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica. The Lecturers and Instructors possess a rich range of global experiences in the areas of dance technique, performance, choreography, entrepreneurship and dance education bringing invaluable teaching to the institution and serving in the region as leaders in the dance community through their creative work and pedagogy.
Our students learn and utilize a broad range of disciplines and skills. A graduate of the School of Dance is capable of performing exclusively as a dancer, teacher, administrator, choreographer and communicator, undertaking cultural roles and initiating dance activities in the community.
Our Graduates are equipped to:
Plan and present seminars, workshops, productions and competitions in dance
Work in major performance and technical roles in the dance theatre and cultural industries
Teach dance in the education system at the primary or secondary level
Position themselves as dance entrepreneurs
Use indigenous material as a source for developing and improving dance and creative skills
This is the flagship event of the performing corps of the School of Dance and is compulsory for all full-time students. The programme serves to hone the skills of current students and prepare them for the discipline of professional dance theatre. Students get the opportunity to work with leading dance artistes and faculty, create their own choreographies, experience various performance spaces and engage in diverse aspects of production.
This vibrant concert is an annual celebration for Black History Month through dance, drama ,music and the visual arts.
Faculty Concert: Physical Labrish
This is an annual performance of the choreographic and experimental work of the Faculty and graduates of the School of Dance.