Stella Maris lifts Cayman youth

Netball staged one of its biggest fundraisers over the weekend.

The Harquail Theatre hosted three showings of the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble. The group was brought down from Jamaica by the Cayman Islands Netball Association and raised thousands towards the development of local netball.

In the president’s address, netball association Lucille Seymour emphasized the link between her sport and the performing arts. The address reads, “This association greatly benefits the psychosocial enhancement of the youths in our country. It has also created a greater passion for dance and reinforced the contribution of sports.

“Sports make our youth healthy and the performing arts make them better social beings. Our students are able to balance these activities with academics and are motivated to improve their grades.”

The performances were broken down into six acts. Dr. Monika Lawrence served as choreographer for most of the segments, along with Abeldo ‘Tokie’ Gonzales.

The group’s showings tied in with the Jamaica Independence celebrations, with 2012 marking the 50th anniversary. Providing patronage for the event for the second straight year were Minister of Sports Mark Scotland and his wife Cindy.

Gillian Lee was among the local netball figures to take in the performances. Cayman’s technical director for netball, who came here from Australia in April, states it made the biggest impact on the youth.

“The kids dance workshop, which was free to all kids on Thursday, was fun for all the kids, dancing with the Stella Maris dancers and learning the dance they performed at their Saturday kids matinee,” Lee said. “When they stood on stage ready for their dances their faces light up. The music started and every kids remembered their steps and got right into their movements, bringing tremendous applause from the audience.

“The night performances were delightful to watch. They are creative with the choreography and full of expression with every movement. Being creative is very much part of netball, learning tactics and learning dance steps all go hand in hand.”

From here, netball will look focus on its summer camps, training sessions and a mixed league starting in September. Lee states the Stella Maris performance is important for completing local initiatives.

“Fundraising is the only way we can have national teams travel to regional and world events. Netball is certainly initiating many new events for both children and adults and we will be looking for sponsorship from companies for all these positive programmes. Anyone interested can e-mail [email protected]