By Carlena Knight
Two programmes previously staged by the government’s Cultural Division may soon make their return following years of dormancy.
They are the once popular National Dance Theatre and the National Youth Pan Orchestra and, according to Director of Culture, Khan Cordice, plans to restart them have been in motion for some time.
Cordice, who is a product of the National Youth Pan Orchestra, revealed that discussions have been underway since before the start of the pandemic.
“Prior to the Covid lockdown, my team and I had a few conversations about starting a few national groups, and the National Dance Theatre was one, and the National Youth Pan Orchestra was also one of them.
“I am a student, I came through that as well. With all of the programmes that we are now establishing and with all the programmes that we are going to start in the school system, it is going to be a little different.
“The idea is to have things properly structured, have a properly laid out curriculum and that will be the new way forward for culture,” Cordice revealed.
In the past, both programmes attracted a significant number of participants, but due to various reasons, both groups went into hiatus.
Cordice made these comments during the National Virtual Dance Solo Competition on Monday evening. He also gave his opinion on the performances he would have seen and commended his staff on putting on a great event.
“The people of Antigua and Barbuda are extremely talented and I am elated about the work they have done, the work that the community dance groups have been doing and just for the development of dance in Antigua and Barbuda,” he said.
“I want to start by commending the events and dance department, not only for their work on this event but also on the work they have been doing since I got there in the department. The staff has been very open.
“Yes, we may go back and forth on a few things, but I am really elated on the work they would have done with this initiative. One of the things that I have been encouraging them to do is to start to think outside of the box and come up with ways to let people see what it is they have been working on and I really want to commend them and keep encouraging them.”
The avid pan lover further encouraged the youth and other cultural practitioners to continue to push forward in the arts.
“Keep pushing the bar. Keep trying to develop your skills and nurture your skills. Keep encouraging persons, especially the older ones in the community; it is important for us to continue to pass on that knowledge,” he said.
“One of the things that I have noted from African culture is the ability to continue to pass on their knowledge from generation to generation and that is a practice we need to have continually.
“There’s no purpose of me being a musician to learn all of this knowledge and not pass it on. We really need to continue to encourage our people in Antigua and Barbuda,” the director of culture noted.