RG Scholarships

Performing arts scholarships make students centre stage

Funding available for huge variety of performance arts
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Whether its dance, acting or music, Bermuda has a rich culture in the performing arts. It’s why several performing arts scholarships are available for deserving students wishing to continue that tradition.

“For students interested in the performing arts, there are a number of scholarships on bermudascholarships.com that we encourage applications for,” said a spokesperson from BermudaScholarships.com. “Students should search by area of study and then shortlist the scholarships for which they are eligible.”

A quick search provides a range of offerings for all interests in the performing arts. For instance:

The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Bermuda offers two scholarships a year in the amount of up to $5,000 to undergraduate or post-graduate students enrolled in Musical Performance, Theatre Performance or Stage Production. These awards are based on academic excellence and financial need.

The National Dance Foundation of Bermuda Fund at the Bermuda Community Foundation offers four major scholarships and multiple bursaries annually to Bermudian and Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) dancers, who demonstrate talent, skill, determination and commitment to pursue advanced dance training as a dance major at a recognised university or other professional programme overseas. The scholarships range from $7,500 to $15,000, and bursaries from $1,000 to $5,000.

The Peter Leitner Arts Scholarship will fund the education of deserving Bermudian students of the visual and performing arts, either in Bermuda or abroad. This scholarship is awarded annually in the region of $30,000 per year, distributed to several successful applicants.

After narrowing down the search, it’s time to focus on the application itself. “Some scholarships require an essay or answers to specific questions,” said the BermudaScholarships.com spokesperson. “We encourage students to have someone they trust to read their essay answers to make sure that they are fully answering the questions posed by the award provider. Also, if selected for an interview, students can prepare by arranging mock interviews with someone who will give honest feedback.”

The spokesperson encouraged students to start their applications early to ensure they meet the deadline. Each scholarship sets their own specific requirements and timelines. Students should make checklists to ensure that they have all required documents for each scholarship they intend to apply for in advance.

Practical aspects aside, applicants may be wondering what it takes to actually secure a scholarship in the arts. Jayne Burnet is chairman of the Scholarship Committee of the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda Fund (NDFB Fund). The NDFB Fund is currently the only fund in Bermuda that gives exclusively to dance education. Its scholarships honour members of the dance community that have made a difference in the promotion and education of Bermuda’s dancers.

When it comes to selecting dancers for scholarships, Burnet said applicants must be accepted into a world class institution or accredited university with a dance major or a performing arts high school. “We are typically looking at dancers who are focused, disciplined and have a strong sense of commitment. Their participation in dance training translates to a strong sense of self worth and confidence,” said Ms Burnet.

She said these scholarships give eager and able students the opportunity to be fully developed and welcomed into the international dance community. “It is so important for young Bermudian dancers to travel off island for training and exposure to other teachers and dancers. Scholarships and bursaries enable Bermudians to study at the most prestigious schools in the world. This, along with their determination, commitment and discipline sees them achieve great success in the world of dance. NDFB Fund scholarship winners are proving this to be true.”

Indeed, the NDFB Fund has many success stories. “All of our past recipients are dancing with professional companies and also teaching both overseas and in Bermuda,” she said, highlighting Ravi Cannonier Watson, the recipient of the Catherine Zeta Jones Scholarship and the highest award given by the NDFB Fund. “Ravi is in his final year at the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London, where he continues to excel and impress as a dancer. The NDFB Fund has supported Ravi since his entry to White Lodge, the lower school of the Royal Ballet, at age 12.”

For more information about scholarships that support the arts, visit www.bermudascholarships.com.

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