The auditions are over, the rehearsals have been completed, and now the Cayman Islands team of performers is ready to head to Los Angeles for the World Competition of the Performing Arts.
Vocalists, models, actors and dancers, under the supervision of the team’s national director, Antonio Dennis, flew out Thursday to compete against talent from around the world. This will be an opportunity for Cayman’s team members to meet stage performers from other countries and gain some valuable experience.
Antonio Dennis – National Director
Dennis grew up loving performing arts. He has participated in many competitions in his home country of Jamaica through the National Jamaica Cultural Development Commission and has won various medals and prizes through competing in music and drama. His training began with the Cathy Levy’s Little People and Teen Players Club between 1992 and 1996, being trained in tap, jazz, ballet, modern, folk and traditional dance, acting, mime, puppetry, sign language and vocal techniques. This laid the groundwork for pursuing a professional career in the arts. In 1996 he joined the Ashe Caribbean Performing Arts Ensemble and continued training full-time in the arts, touring the Caribbean and America, performing, teaching and mentoring prospective students.
He attended Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts from 2000 to 2005, from which he matriculated with a Diploma in Dance Theatre and Production. He worked with the national director of the Jamaica team, Lisa Hayles, for four years. In that period, he scouted and coached Francois Medley, who went on to become the 2015 Senior Grand Champion of the World.
Melody Allenger – Vocalist (age 15)
According to Allenger, she lives, breathes and even “sleeps” singing. She comes from a family of musicians, and from a very young age she would sing on stage with them, so that’s where she feels at home. Allenger also plays the ukulele, as well as a little piano and violin.
She is extremely excited to be a part of the Cayman Islands Team for the World Competition of the Performing Arts 2018 and says it will be an amazing experience to meet musicians and performers from all over the world.
Erica Assai – Vocalist (age 19)
Assai started singing in her early adolescent years, performing at shows and competing for the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year Award in 2013. She has also competed in Cayman’s Got Talent and the Pirate Star Singing Competition, where she won gold for both. In 2017, she won a Poinciana “Song of the Year” award. She has opened for many international acts, such as OMI, Jahmiel, Ky-Mani Marley, Diana King, Percy Sledge, Ginuwine, Olatunji, Voice and Verse Simmonds. She has already made her mark on Cayman’s music scene with her hit song “SMWY (Si Mi Whine Ya).”
Aleah Copeland – Vocalist and Model (age 16)
Copeland was singing and writing her own lyrics at the tender age of 8. She has performed at Pirates Week, church functions, school events and the Hard Rock Cafe, and was a finalist in the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year Award.
She benefitted from modeling training at her school, where she took part in fashion shows. She was subsequently approached by several businesses on island and has since modelled their clothing and makeup lines.
Copeland believes that being part of the World Competition of the Performing Arts Cayman team will push her to advance her careers in both music and modeling.
Rita Estevanovich – Model and Actress (age 37)
Estevanovich is a graduate of the New York Film Academy and has spent the last 10 years devoting herself to the production and promotion of arts education programs, national festivals, theater and cultural preservation programs. She is also a former television reporter and radio host.
She has performed regularly on the Gimistory festival stage and was also a member of Dance Unlimited and the Cayman Islands Folk Singers, representing Cayman at CARIFESTA and the Aberdeen International Youth Festival.
She has played several leading and supporting roles in local productions and her voice can be heard on local, regional and U.S. market ads as well as local cartoon series “Bobo & Tedee’s Island Adventures,” produced by GEEZUM Entertainment.
Jaedyn Hanna – Vocalist (Age 16)
Hanna believes that music affects people in a multitude of ways, and to her, music is more than just something to listen to; it is something to feel. She began singing from a very young age in the children’s choir at church. She also plays the piano, saxophone, and flute. She has performed at various local events and was runner-up in the 2016 Young Musician of the Year. Hanna is a member of the Cayman Youth Choir and the Young at Arts Intensive performing arts program.
With hard work and determination, she believes that she can excel with her talent and is very excited to have been given the opportunity to participate in the competition in Los Angeles.
Tia McPherson – Vocalist and Model (age 15)
McPherson started singing when she was just 6 years old and quickly fell in love with it. She frequently sings for her class and has also sung for her school choir.
Her dream is to perform on the big stage. When she heard that the World Competition of the Performing Arts was holding auditions, she immediately recognized the opportunity to improve her talent, and she looks forward to this experience, hoping that it will give her the confidence to achieve her ultimate goals.
Jordyn Thompson – Actress (age 16)
Thompson joined a dance group at the age of 9 and immediately felt at home on stage. She performs annually and participated in the 2017 Young at Arts program. This invaluable experience helped her build her confidence and fall even further in love with acting.
By participating in the World Competition of the Performing Arts, Thompson hopes to send the message to the people of her country that, “anything is possible – the impossible just takes a little bit longer.”
Somali Thompson – Vocalist (age 17)
A singer since the age of 7, Thompson attended school in Kingston, Jamaica where she says her love for entertainment was molded.
In Jamaica, she was a part of various choirs and groups such as The Jamaica Dance Company, Creative Arts movement, Jamaica Theatre Company and Father Ho Long and Friends. Drawing from this experience, Thompson developed her vocal, dancing and modeling abilities. She is now back home in the Cayman Islands ready to commence her university studies, where she will continue to explore her passion for singing.
Carlie Tibbetts – Dancer (age 16)
Since she was little, Tibbetts loved to dance. She would dance anywhere, everywhere, and whenever she wanted. Dance is her life. It seemed to come naturally to her when she would listen to music, but she says that she really began to take to it when she started watching Michael Jackson’s and Chris Brown’s dance videos on YouTube.
She has been involved in local dance group Koalition, which would travel from Cayman Brac, where Carlie resides, to the “big” island, Grand Cayman, where they would perform at various events. Tibbetts welcomes any help with her dancing and is willing and determined to build and focus on developing her talent even further with the opportunity that the competition in California provides.
For more information and updates on the Cayman team’s progress, visit antoniodennisjm1.wixsite.com/teamcaymanislands.