Sheron Trotman making bold strides


When it comes to dance, count Sheron Trotman among the crème de la crème in Barbados. There’s no doubt about it.

Her very expansive career, started way back when she was a toddler.

Before she could probably spell the words “plié”, she was doing them. It was from there that her love for dance grew and she has not looked back since.

“I always had a passion for dance. I was a toddler and I would just dance. My family members would encourage me to dance, and some actually told me they would pay me ten cents to dance. So I’ve always been doing that. However, because of finances, my parents couldn’t really put me in a dance programme at a young age, so I never actually started dancing formally until I was like 14 years old, which is considered late, and I’ve been dancing ever since then,” she said.

In an interview with Easy at her new dance studio Dance Strides in Wildey, St Michael, Sheron reflected on her very productive career, admitting that it’s been a great one.

“I studied dance here in Barbados as a teenager, then I went off to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Centre in New York to pursue dance as a profession. That’s where I would have done all of my major dance studies. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. The school is very highly acclaimed. Apart from that, I also did the Royal Academy of Dance ballet exams. I did that up to the intermediate level. I was privileged to help develop the dance programme at Howard University in the United States. So I was there in terms of implementing that which was a major step for the university.”

This dancer has not only performed onstage, but has also decided to give back through her school, to the discipline that has brought her so much joy.

“Dance Strides will be 24 years in April, but I’ve been working in dance even before that. There used to be a dance association here and I sat on the board for the duration of its existence. I’ve got awards and acknowledgements all over. Dance has also allowed me to travel all over the world. I’ve worked with the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) as a dancer, a choreographer, a judge, so I’ve been in every possible capacity in the dance area of NIFCA. I’ve also worked at Barbados Community College, did some things with the University of the West Indies at some point,” she said.

As for her contribution to the dance arena in Barbados, Sheron told Easy she could only hope that she had made a great one.

“I just look at is as playing the role I was given the gift to do . . . . I’ve worked with other dance companies, just about every other dance company that has been around. My contribution though I hope, is to help to produce well rounded human beings. Bringing children up to adulthood with values, standards, and a level of commitment which I find is lacking in society now. Probably only three organisations or so I have not contributed to. My passion is to help develop rounded human beings,” she said.

That passion she speaks of though is something she said is missing these days in the young dancers.

“I find that the passion is missing in dance and life generally. Young people seem not to have the passion and passion isn’t something you can teach. You either have it or you don’t,” she said.

Sheron still recognised the talent in Barbados.

“I’m very impressed with the number of young dancers with talent. Many very talented young dancers are here. I’m not sure if there is passion though. The listing under passion for me should be commitment, punctuality in terms of coming to the space and preparing your instrument for what you are about to do. But when it comes to raw talent, Barbados is loaded with it.

“The other thing is, I’m not sure what we are doing with all that talent. And when I say we, I mean it in its entirety. There should be some type of national dance company or something for all these individual groups, and it’s almost like a struggle . . . . Something is missing; some ingredient just isn’t there,” she stressed.

She said she believed it was because many dancers did not fully understand the art form.

“A lot of them do not understand dance in its entirety, but dance just because they can. The other thing is, they like to perform tricks and I understand that it’s the world that we live in. Everybody can do legs that hit their heads, split in the middle, and so on, but in terms of honing the skill and being able to deliver and express, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. But it can only happen if they work together. Everyone wants to showcase themselves and make a dollar. It’s like they are working against each other to show themselves, which should not be,” she said adding that it shouldn’t be like that.

However, for almost 24 years, Sheron has been doing her part to build well rounded dancers in Barbados through her group Dance Strides.

“I understand that in a class of 24 students I’m not going to have 24 professional dancers, but I would like to have helped 24 human beings become decent, humble, productive citizens of the world,” she said.

And at 54, the still very youthful and energetic veteran dancer has no plans on slowing down, any time soon.

“This is a new space we have here at Dance Strides, and I’m really excited about. You couldn’t ask for a better location. My students are happy when they come. Just about everything I do in my life is about the business.”

“I haven’t done anything at NIFCA in a while so there’s a possibility I’ll do something this year. I’m heavily considering it, but we will see how it works out. I like making a contribution. But even if I don’t enter as a choreographer, I have persons in the company who are eager to enter either as soloist or some tutors are interested in entering students. So there’s no slowing down for me any time soon,” Sheron added. (DB)


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