In sports the link between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica has always been strong. One discipline that hopes to illustrate that more in the future is netball.
After successfully hosting a visiting team and dance group in the last three months, talk centres around a lengthy partnership between the two countries. Cayman Islands Netball Association president Lucille Seymour is especially pleased with the feedback surrounding the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble.
“The partnership between sports and the performing arts no doubt increased the image of netball in the Cayman Islands,” Seymour said. “Making a profit was a goal, but our primary goal was to bring the two disciplines together to help netball become a house-hold name and the sport of choice in Cayman coupled with a love for the performing arts.
“The highlight was the dancers’ interaction with over three hundred school children across local schools. As a former educator I would boldly say that I have never experienced such appreciation and participation by children. Additionally, I continue to hear teachers and children implore for a return of such a group. To me this is fascinating. Children do much better when they have an interest and when they enjoy something.”
The ensemble was in Cayman back in May, performing a number of three-hour shows at the Harquail Theatre. The performances focused on various aspects of Jamaican culture from its history and link to slavery to religion and its cultural legacy. In addition the group imparted dance moves from genres such as mento, skat and rock steady to local school children.
Earlier this month local club Rising Stars hosted the Boulevard Baptist netball club. Those matches took place at the University College of the Cayman Islands hall and featured teams within the netball association’s various leagues.
It should be noted that local netball has had ties to Jamaica for years. To this day many persons and teams with Jamaican roots are involved in the sport here.
Seymour states the plan is to have Jamaican groups like the ensemble become steady features on the local netball calendar.
“I want to personally, through this medium, thank you the Caymanian people for supporting the netball association. The large turn-out to the events and the many applause and letters we have received is indicative that we have entered into something, which will allow all of us to further help our youths.”