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Supporting Artistic Expression

UCCI Dance Troupe members with (from left) Student Services Director Mary Ann Cannon, (back row) Kri Performing Arts Choreographer/Owner Kirk Rowe, and Greenlight Re President and Chief Underwriting Officer Bart Hedges.

University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) students are finding that sitting in a classroom, reading books, or surfing the Internet are not the only ways to learn.

Offerings at UCCI's Creative Arts Department are enhancing qualities such as discipline and confidence, and students are gaining valuable outlets for self expression.

"In this region people are very rhythmic," UCCI President Roy Bodden said, "and we may be able to express some things artistically, better than we ever could through language."

Student Services Director Mary Ann Cannon added, "We hope to give students the means through which they can creatively express themselves and showcase their talents."

To this end, UCCI already offers choir and steel pan as extra curricular activities. But a recent donation of $4,200 from local reinsurance specialists Greenlight Re. Ltd, has allowed the college to launch its first dance troupe.

"We're really excited about this partnership because it fits into the youth, sports, environment and education categories we like to sponsor," Greenlight President and Chief Underwriting Officer Bart Hedges explained.

"Most of our employees have their families here with them and we believe these areas are critical to the development of the community in which we live."

Equally excited are the students who will be participating. Seventeen-year-old Literary Studies major Tiphanie Wilmot said that she has always wanted to dance: "It's something I've been interested in for many years and I couldn't let this opportunity pass.

"I like the fact that it's open to everyone -- even new dancers like me -- and the techniques are so varied, including hip hop, reggaeton, salsa, jazz and contemporary dance."

Another trouper, 21-year-old Shanique Gayle, started dancing at her church four years ago. Explaining her love for the art form she said "When I dance it's relaxing. It's like stress relief."

Greenlight Re's donation will pay for the troupe's first 14 weeks of instruction with Kri Performing Arts Choreographer/Owner Kirk Rowe. And while Mr. Hedges pledged his company's continued support for the troupe, he also called on other like-minded companies to support the project.

"We like to be good corporate citizens and that includes encouraging other companies to be the same. So far as sponsorship is concerned, we look forward to this becoming a multi-agency initiative."

(GIS)

For further information contact: Kenisha Morgan