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Dance students awarded $3,000 scholarships

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A pair of dance students have been awarded scholarships to pursue their dreams in the performing arts.

Shanna Henry and Jadiyah Bailey were today presented with $3,000 through the Nadanja and Nishanthi N'tertainment Scholarship Fund.

“I'm actually very excited, happy, overjoyed,” Ms Henry, 21, told The Royal Gazette.

“Words really can't explain how grateful I am for them to give me this scholarship and I will be making sure that I fulfil the scholarship and get to where I want to be in life.”

Ms Henry, of Warwick, is a sophomore student at Montclair State University in New Jersey, United States.

The Berkeley Institute graduate is pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in dance and hopes to eventually obtain a master's degree in television programming.

But Ms Henry, who started dancing at the age of 7 and joined United Dance Productions when she was 15, also dreams of returning to Bermuda to encourage others to follow in her footsteps.

She said: “I knew I had a calling in dance and that I needed to fulfil my passion and let everybody see where I was going with it.

“Hopefully I would come back and teach those students who also want to pursue a career in dance and to also show Bermuda what I have been doing abroad and let them know that dance is another form of art that should not be taken for granted.”

Ms Bailey, 19, is also passionate about encouraging others to pursue their dreams in the performing arts.

“I've been dancing since I was three and my love for it grew over the years,” the Edge Hill University student said.

“I hope to teach one day and I really enjoy doing this — it's one of the things that make me happiest.”

Ms Bailey, who also attended the Berkeley Institute and trained with In Motion School of Dance, said the funds will be going towards her university education in England.

“I am very excited and thankful because university is expensive and it means a lot to get recognised for working hard in school and doing what you do.”

The scholarship was set up by brother and sister team Nadanja and Nishanthi Bailey, who are both well-known in the performing arts world on the Island.

“This is a scholarship that my brother and I decided to give to another young person who is pursuing our passion, the performing arts, and has decided to go overseas and live the dream,” Ms Bailey said.

“We always talk about the performing arts and how important it is for young people to live that dream that is not often lived by many of us who have that passion.

“We are very proud of these two young, dynamic women who are leading the way in the area of dance.”

Mr Bailey, a comedian, and Ms Bailey, who describes herself as “more the actress”, were both inspired to get involved in the arts through their parents.

Ms Bailey said: “We definitely feel its important to give back to the young people and that's one of our main reason for having this scholarship as a way to encourage them. We're in a position to do so, that's why we do it. We kind of see ourselves through them — we remember when we were in their spot.”

But the pair would also like to encourage more men to apply for the scholarship. This year, all of the 16 applicants were female.

“We would like this scholarship to be a male and a female,” Mr Bailey said. “All you guys, if you want to work backstage, or you want to be an actor, or you play the violin — we want you to apply for this scholarship next year.”

Nadanja and Nishanthi N'tertainment Scholarship Fund: Pictured left to right - Shanna Henry, Nishanthi Bailey, Nadanja Bailey and Jadiyah Bailey (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Nadanja and Nishanthi N'tertainment Scholarship Fund: Recipients Shanna Henry and Jadiyah Bailey pictured with Nadanja Bailey, Nishanthi Bailey and their families (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published January 05, 2016 at 3:50 pm (Updated January 05, 2016 at 3:50 pm)

Dance students awarded $3,000 scholarships

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