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When it comes to the arts, there is no limit for Skye

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Skye Minors is one of four performing arts students who received a $5,000 bursary from the BMDS Charitable Trust (Photograph supplied)

Skye Minors had her first dance lesson at the age of five.

At 18 she's hopeful that her talent, and the instruction she is getting at Howard University, will put her in a place where she can make dance her career.

A $5,000 bursary from the BMDS Charitable Trust is helping. Skye is one of four students to receive the annual grant that was established in 2001 in memory of BMDS member Kate Huntington "specifically to promote theatre among Bermuda’s youth".

"I take three dance classes a week and I also take other classes that pertain to performing arts," said Skye, a dance major in her freshman year. "I've always liked to perform. I started at the age of five at In Motion School of Dance and then I moved to DanceSations School of Dance. I've acted in multiple school plays and I [acted with Gilbert & Sullivan] I think when I was 14.

"So I've always had this love for performing. I want to do this professionally whether it's dance or acting or on Broadway. Coming to Howard has made me realise that it's just this love for performing that I really want to proceed with."

Apart from a short break when she was devoted to football, her interest hasn’t wavered since she discovered dance at age five. In addition to the classes she has taken here, Skye has benefited from "multiple intensives under performers like Debbie Allen" and lessons at The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in New York. She also performed in productions while in high school in the US.

She believes it is a love she inherited from her parents, Theresa and David Minors, whose company PlayList Management helped pair young entertainers with opportunities in performing arts.

"I think I picked it up from them because they started out doing it first and I wanted to join them," she said. "My dad used to act. He used to do a lot of Gilbert & Sullivan; my brother as well. So I owe it all to them."

In 2014 she auditioned for Talent Inc, a management company in the US.

"That’s where I started acting. They give you a call back if they want you to work under them. I did acting, dance and modelling and I got call backs for all three."

The past several months have been "a discouraging period of time" for the teenager whose performances were limited by the coronavirus pandemic.

"You want to dance and be in the studio with other dancers and do productions," she said. "That is not to say that I didn’t still perform – I did competitions and showcases on line – but it didn’t have the same feeling as actually being surrounded by other dancers and your teachers as well. It definitely was discouraging."

The BMDS grant opened up those opportunities for her once more.

"Last year I got to do certain projects but they were very solo because of Covid and so now, being able to create with other people and get back in touch with performance as part of a dance company, it's been really great for me – mentally as well. I am not just thinking by myself."

Skye was preparing for her first dance performance at Howard when she was sidelined by bilateral joint pain.

"This month we are having a fall showcase, mainly students creating work that they show off to family, friends and the whole college, but unfortunately I had an injury midway through and I have had to stop for the time being but I will return to dance in the spring."

Having applied for other scholarships she was thrilled when BMDS offered her a bursary.

"I was getting discouraged because a lot of scholarships weren’t coming in from Bermuda specifically so when I got the e-mail I was like 'Yes, all that I've done has finally paid off.' I think it's so important that us as Bermudian performing artists, that we get that recognition and support from scholarships like that so we can still do what we love to do.

"So I was very excited and happy that I got this scholarship especially with all the other scholarships that were not coming in."

A decade from now her hope is that she has an established career, doing what she loves – especially as she is without a Plan B.

"This programme has really showed me that wherever this takes me it's going to work out because I'm being built and educated on different levels and different genres of performing arts. So honestly, wherever this takes me, I feel like I will be content.

"This is it for me right now. I can always fall back on one of the other genres. If dance doesn’t work out I can always act, if I'm not acting I can get a different gig. I feel that because of the way they're educating me I'll be in the realm somewhere."

For more information on the BMDS Charitable Trust visit bmds.bm/charitable-trust/

Keeping the arts alive

Funding for the BMDS Charitable Trust comes through the Famous for 15 Minutes Playwriting Festival which has not been staged since 2018 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than $440,000 has been raised since the Trust was formed in 2001 in memory of Kate Huntington, a "young and active" BMDS member who died in 2000.

Four bursaries of $5,000 each were presented this year:

Zayla Bolin is pursuing a bachelor's degree in acting for screen at Bath Spa University in the UK.

Skye Minors is pursuing a degree in theatre arts-dance arts at Howard University in Washington, DC.

John Seymour is pursuing a bachelor of professional studies in interdisciplinary music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jesaiah Talbot is pursuing a bachelor's degree in music and sound design at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK.

The Trust also made a $3,500 donation to the Bermuda School of Music bursary programme.

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Published November 26, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated November 25, 2021 at 8:59 am)

When it comes to the arts, there is no limit for Skye

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