Standing proudly above the Old Mill Cultural Centre
Standing proudly above the Old Mill Cultural Centre

"The Dominica Institute for the Arts (DIFA) is proud to highlight its students' successful completion of its 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and American Ballet Theatre (ABT)examinations despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CSEC has been known to match, and even surpass, its equivalent secondary school diplomas worldwide. Hence, DIFA's excitement in its students' noteworthy performance in CSEC Theatre Arts and Music in 2019 and 2020. Congratulations to our professional and dedicated teachers Verna Graham and Huguette St Hillaire.

DIFA's students' excellent performance at the American Ballet Theatre examinations was also great news. Twenty-five of our dance students excelled in their 2020 American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum Assessments. Congratulations to you and your parents. We are quite proud that DIFA is the only Eastern Caribbean dance programme whose teacher - Rebecca Warthen - is certified to teach the curriculum of America's National Ballet Company and prepare students for these examinations. Thanks to Rebecca for her commitment and hard work. The American Ballet Theatre is one of the world's most prestigious dance companies with an established reputation for excellence. Founded in New York in 1939, ABT's home theatre is the illustrious Lincoln Centre at the Metropolitan Opera House. ABT examiners travel all over the world to evaluate thousands of students every year and ensure their quality of training in the ABT NTC curriculum. The success of our students proves that with commitment, determination, and DIFA's professional training our students can compete on the international stage.

The DIFA also applauds all students who performed creditably at the 2020 G6NA "Common Entrance" examinations as this was a challenging year. We are especially elated as two of our DIFA students were among the top five performers in the Common Entrance examinations: Syreina Harris and Therese LeBlanc. We are really happy for you and your parents.

Whilst children are different in their discipline and ability, what was apparent and consistent in these students' situation was their hard work, parental support and time management skills. Parents can always assist through the training of their children. Not to be overlooked is the frequent fear that the arts and sports are soft and insignificant options that could serve to distract students and prevent them from excelling in the "academic" subjects. How untrue. The arts are significant and important subjects on a school curriculum and enhance rather than detract from the student's education. These two DIFA top 2020 G6NA performers proved this. Syreina participates in as many as five DIFA visual and performing arts courses. We are happy to note that Therese is even considering the Arts in her career dreams!

Furthermore, the inclusion of the Arts assists in the development of a more well-rounded individual. The presence of the arts in a student's curriculum vitae also makes him/her more attractive to overseas colleges and universities that welcome the diversity, richness, and balanced personality traits of their prospective student.

DIFA offers Traditional, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Latin Dance, Ballet, Visual Arts, Fine Arts, Sculpture, Woodcarving, Costume Building, Functional Keyboard, Traditional Music, Drum Kit, Steelpan, Children's Choir, Flute, Functional and Classical Guitar, Music Theory, Music Business, Song Writing, Hand Drumming, Acting for Theatre and Film, Introduction to Film, Arts and Events Management, CSEC Music and Theatre Arts, College Elective courses in Visual and Theatre Arts, Associate Degree in Visual Arts and Cultural Communications and in the Performing Arts.

DIFA, therefore, remains true to its mission to provide quality training in the Visual and Performing Arts at all levels and continues to fulfill a major aspect of the stated mission of both the Division of Culture and the Dominica Festivals Commission in promoting and fostering development and growth of Dominica's culture, arts, craft, music, and entertainment.

It would be highly beneficial if we focused more heavily on Dominica's general recommendations for the development of the Arts as it is so important in improving our entertainment package for both local Dominicans and tourists, in encouraging an individual's commitment to structure and form, and in developing his/her ability to balance, coordinate, focus and pay attention to detail; the Arts also demand dedication and discipline, all so critical to the development of self-esteem, the whole individual and the development of our entire country.

We embrace this opportunity to thank and express profound appreciation to the Cultural Division, DIFA's tutors, and other staff and donors, parents and students, for their tremendous contribution to the programme of the Dominica Institute for the Arts.