EducationLifestyles

For the love of Dance

Stemarciae Bain’s passion earns her a scholarship to pursue studies in performing arts, dance theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy

For Stemarciae Bain, dance is a source of expression, freedom and confidence. She is able to convey stories through movement that evoke emotions in whomever is watching. The 17-year-old has never skydived, but she likens the feeling she gets when she masters a new move, combination or trick to the thrill she imagines a skydiver gets when they jump out of a plane.

“What is so incredible about dance to me is that it gives me a feeling of uniqueness and individuality. Whether it is a combination taught to a class, a solo routine or improvisation, I am able to make the movement unique to Stemarciae Bain. Dance is a combination of different movements that mostly have been done before, but look drastically different when executed by different people … and I fell in love with that.”

It is to this teen that a number of institutions offered scholarships for her to pursue post-secondary studies. Stemarciae decided to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts, Dance Theater, at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City.

She is expected to commence studies at $60,000 per year at AMDA, in the fall, with a scholarship, but did not want to reveal how much she was given.

“I decided to attend AMDA because of how much they can offer me as a student and aspiring professional dancer. They offer a variety of styles including contemporary, ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, tap, commercial jazz, and Broadway; and additional courses in acting, singing technique and more. Such a large variety of styles is crucial to those preparing to enter the ever-changing dance industry. Casting companies and directors are always on a search for versatile performers who can bring a lot to the table, so having the training AMDA will provide me with will truly prepare me for the professional dance industry,” she said.

“I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to study abroad and further my education in the art I love. It means the world to me to be able to continue my dance education in the city that thrives off of creativity – New York City,” said Stemarciae.

Eventually, she hopes to begin her professional career in the Big Apple.

Stemarciae credits Nonny Price, her dance teacher and director of Just Dance Bahamas, with opening her eyes to the fact that she could pursue dance professionally post-high school, when she was just a child. Price earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at Point Park University, and was also able to pursue a professional dance career.

“I definitely wanted to study dance after high school, but wasn’t sure if it was possible because I hadn’t at the time heard of anyone else other than my dance teacher, Ms. Nonny, taking that route and being successful.”

Then she met Courtney Celeste Spears at an Ailey II workshop held in The Bahamas, and heard her story, and that she took her dance education and training to the tertiary level just as Price had.

Spears is now a dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and co-founder of ArtSea Dance, a weekend-long convention that Stemarciae has attended annually since it started in 2017, and through which Spears’ goal is to be the bridge that connects artists of The Bahamas and the Caribbean to the vast dance world – whether it’s dancing in college to obtain a degree or dancing professionally.

“These two brilliant examples that pursuing dance after high school and even as a career was possible truly inspired me. Once I saw that it was possible, I knew there was nothing else I would rather do,” she said. “It is great to see a Bahamian Black woman doing great and groundbreaking things in the dance industry in The Bahamas and abroad, in New York.”

Stemarciae, who started dancing at the age of seven at Just Dance Bahamas, where she has danced for the past 11 years, envisions a future for herself which has her on Broadway and on stages around the world.

“I have no one specific professional dance job I would like to do in the future. I would like to try many different jobs in the dance industry to experience everything it has to offer me.”

Her favorite dance style is jazz. She loves that it requires technique, but allows a lot of freedom.

“There is also a broad world of jazz in that you can incorporate other styles, emotions and stories into jazz,” she said.

She said she also envisions herself returning home to The Bahamas to inspire the next generation of dancers to go after their dreams and be confident in taking an unconventional career path, if they truly love the art.

“I am so beyond grateful for the talent and opportunities that God has blessed me with and I am glad to do anything He has in His plan for me and my future.”

The Kingsway Academy graduate, who graduated with a 3.722 cumulative grade point average (GPA), said that while she is passionate about dance, education is also important to her. She has never had a grade below a B- and her GPA has never dropped lower than a 3.5.

The daughter of Marcia and Stephen Bain said she did this while balancing two and a half hours to three hours of daily dance classes, which amounts to 10 to 11 dance classes a week, six days a week.

“Taking my education and dance training seriously has taught me discipline, determination, perseverance and to hold myself to high standards, and to never settle for any less than my best,” said Stemarciae. “As a result, I was placed on the accelerated track (AT) at my high school, and completed all of my work and national and international exams a grade early. Along with that, I was inducted into the Alpha Kappa Tau (AKT) Honor Society. I am proud to say that I graduated with dean’s honors as an AT student and AKT member.”

Stemarciae said dance also gives her confidence in her daily life outside of dance.

“It is like walking around with a super power. Dance is a very challenging and special sport and art form in that it requires strength, flexibility, fluidity, agility, passion, emotional vulnerability and so much more. Although there are many dancers in the world, knowing that I am a part of such an exclusive group of people – the dance community gives me great confidence.”

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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