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Praise for growth

praise academy branching out

The 10-year-old Praise Academy of Dance Barbados is expanding.

Come October 6, the academy will open its first branch at the Princess Margaret Secondary School at Six Roads, in St. Philip.

Artistic Director Marcia Weekes told High Note that she was “most happy” with this achievement.

Weekes also disclosed that the PAD, which has been teaching dance, film and drama, has just added music to its curriculum. She said that with the opening of the new school term, the academy was now offering classes in piano, where students could sit external examinations.

“We have also started to give external international examinations for ballet and modern dance students. We have started a Certification Dance Ministry which is set up and organised through Jamaica. That means, all papers will be marked in Jamaica, through our branch there,” Weekes announced.

The Artistic Director said, too, that the academy would continue with its CXC Dance, adding that 90 per cent of the passes were 1’s.In the area of film, Weekes referred to the Step-By-Step project in association with the academy and Merville Lynch Studios.

She revealed that the PAD was currently working on a new film entitled Chrissy, to be first released in Barbados on November 5.

“The film will be released at the Olympus Cinema and will be available first to all schools, from primary through to secondary. It’s a family film. After release in Barbados, it will be released in Canada and London in time for the Barbados Independence celebrations in those areas,” pointed out Weekes.

The Artistic Director of Praise Academy of Dance pointed out that after its showing in Canada and London, the film would be released in other places. She explained that Chrissy is about a 10 year-old poor, but smart girl, who uses her faith in God and her determination to manoeuvre through the struggles of life. Weekes noted that the movie also shows how Chrissy was able to deal with bullying, poverty, discrimination and being teased as she sought to find her way to the top of the social ladder. She thanked Merville Lynch and businessman Andrew Bynoe for their invaluable support in assisting the academy in its work.

The Praise Academy of Dance was born in Jamaica out of an intriguing situation involving a dance teacher. Two years after dance teacher, Pat Noble got saved, she was on the stage of the Little Theatre dancing to Bob Marley’s Redemption Song in a Jamaica School of Dance production. She heard a voice which said: ‘Who are you edifying when you are dancing like this?’ She was devastated.

“When I came off, the other dancers said to me: ‘Pat Noble, what happen to your face? How you look so?’ So I told them that I heard this voice. And they said: ‘Well, it is only the voice of God that could talk to you like that.’ “I went into a corner and I said, ‘God, anything you want me to do, I will do. Just allow me to finish this concert’,” Pat recalled.

The following day was a Monday. She found that when she awoke, she could not walk. She was virtually lame for a week. The following week life began to return to her feet. She related these developments to her church sister, the renowned Gene Denham (now deceased), staff worker at the Students Christian Fellowship and Scripture Union.

Attracted demonic spirits

Gene explained that because Pat had earlier been involved in dancing Kumina and Revivalist dances, she had attracted demonic spirits to her body. Gene then instructed her how to fast and pray and seek deliverance. This she did and was indeed delivered of the demons that had been oppressing her.

About a year later, Pat was alone at home, when she heard God say to her ‘I am going to teach you to dance.’ The Lord told her she was going to do ‘Interpretive Worship’ where words are used to inspire movement. She got up and played Andra? Crouch’s O, It is Jesus in her cassette player and danced it without a hitch or without stopping under the choreography of the Holy Spirit, she explained.

Some time later, a member of a dance troupe she was working with at the Covenant Community Church in Kingston prophesied over her. Pat was at the time contemplating a Master’s degree in Dance, having earned a diploma in dance education from the Jamaica School of Dance.

The prophetic word declared that she was not to go and do the Master’s for what the Lord was going to teach her would be more than she would learn in formal study. The prophetic word also said that God was going to establish a dance academy and that she was going to lead it. Pat did not give serious regard to that prophesy as she felt she was too ordinary to establish a dance school. Seven years later, Pat quit her job as a primary school teacher to pioneer Praise Academy of Dance.

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