Stella Maris dancers prance to Harquail in aid of ladies

In less than a month’s time, the performing arts and Cayman netball will come together.

The Cayman Islands Netball Association will be bringing in the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble next month. The Harquail Theatre is expected to host the group on 20-22 July. The Jamaican group, known for their socially conscious routines, was here last May.

The fundraiser is designed to support the development of various programmes and offset the cost of hiring a technical director. Aussie Gillian Lee was recently brought in on a two-year contract to serve as Cayman’s national netball coach of netball. The association is reportedly paying her $50,000, with government only allocating $77,393 to the sport, according to the 2011-2012 purchase agreement between Cabinet and the association.

Lee, who recently pushed for the national finals to go indoors, states she would ideally like to see most major competitions shift indoors.

“I’ve just been pleasantly surprised as all but one school have a great court,” Lee said. “There are good facilities here for school kids. It would be great to have an indoor court. The girls can play harder and more free, they can train harder with less injuries.

“Inside there’s a sprung floor and internationally, you’re always indoors for world championships and things like that. With netball, there is constant pressure on the joints through running and jumping.”

Lee was previously in Melbourne serving as Monash University Central head coach for nearly a decade. She is Cayman’s first national coach since the late Jean Pierre years ago.

For the record, netball is one of six focus sports in Cayman, with the others being athletics, basketball, cricket, football and swimming. It is one of the latest to name a technical director with swimming recently hiring Brit Ian Armiger.

Netball association president Lucille Seymour has been a staunch believer in the link between her sport and the arts. She previously stated the upcoming performances will have not only financial, but social importance.

“If it’s going to survive, netball needs the best talent around the coaches,” Seymour said. “With Jean, she showed technical directors must love kids and want them to progress at a competent level.

“We want to make sure the sport is a character builder and a pillar of pro-social development of children. Sports are not just for competition but to help with the social landscape.”