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Barbara Grant

Barbara Requa attended the St. Andrew’s High School for Girls, where she was not only academically successful but also able to combine scholarship with the study of music. She completed Grade I to VIII though the Royal School of Music. Continuing along artist lines, Mrs. Requa attended the Ivy Baxter School of Dance in Jamaica and studied at the Summer sessions at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. Requa then moved to The Dartford College of Physical Education in the United Kingdom, where she gained a Diploma in Physical Education. She also studied Dance Composition and Laban Technique at Goldsmith’s College in London and Secretarial Studies from Alpha Academy Secretarial School.

Barbara was a founding member and principal dancer of the National Dance Theatre Company. At the time, she was teaching at her Alma Master, St. Andrew’s High School for Girls. The formation of NDTC was a bright and practical idea for dance as an art form as the Company sought to “provide a vehicle for well trained and talented dancers who wish to perform and create works of excellence”. To the NDTC, Mrs. Requa brought technical versatility and a sound knowledge of movements as well as performing style. Her strength is rooted in a deep understanding of dancer’s instrument and the possible range of movement in space due in part to her Laban studies. Mrs. Requa won critical acclaim as the flaunting queen in the role of the other Woman in Dialogue for Three (choreographed in 1963 by Rex Nettleford) about the love of two women for the same man. Stately and self-possessed, she brought elegance as well energy to everything she danced in, whether as spinster in Nettleford’s Masques of God, the Bride in Country Wedding, the disturbed woman in Bert Rose’s Reflections or simply one of the dancers in the scores of works in which she appeared. Mrs. Requa retired from performing with the expressive role of the Mother in Pasty Ricketts’ The Brothers. Her articulate feet and superb lines were special attributes that served her well as a dancer. Her phenomenal stamina also made her consistently outstanding performer in difficult dance situations.

Mrs. Requa appeared to have a special interest in the choreographic future of the Company and as such choreographed five major works, the first of which was Fantasy in 1982. A year later the emphasis on youth was revealed in Trio, an even more successful choreographic offering, which explored kinaesthetic prowess of male dancers though it has been danced by two males and a female. The youthful athleticism of the piece, in a period when physical fitness was becoming the craze, was timely. This expressive piece was warmly received by both audience and critics alike, giving Barbara Requa the kind of encouragement a choreographer with an independent voice needed. Her last work for the NDTC, Caught and Bowled (1995), celebrated though movements the Caribbean passion for the game of “Cricket, lovely Cricket”.

Mrs. Requa was Dean for the School of the Performing Arts Schools and Acting Principal at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. This career path began in the mid 1970s when she joined two other forward-thinking Dance Artists, Sheila Barnett and Bert Rose to become a co–founder of Jamaica School of Dance at the Cultural Training Centre (CTC) now School of Dance at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. The School of Dance, which was situated at The Little Theatre on Tom Redcam Avenue, had no full time programme at its beginning. Classes were, however, available for those who desired to be taught. There was an annual summer school and Department for juniors, which was very active. By 1975 the government of Jamaica decided to establish the Cultural Training Centre, for those devoted to Dance, Arts, Drama and Music. Sheila Barnett became Director of the School, Barbara Requa, the Administrator and Bert Rose the senior Instructor in charge of choreography and Modern Technique. In 1979 Mrs. Requa along with Sheila Barnett became founding members of dance and the Child international (daCi) in Canada and in 1984 she became founder of the School of Dance Junior Department.

Mrs. Requa has been deservedly recognized for her services to Jamaica with a Centenary Medal Award, a Musgrave Medal Award and an Order of Distinction. Mrs. Requa retired from full time status at the School of Dance in 2003 but continued to share her wealth of Dance knowledge and experience by teaching Dance Composition and Movements Studies at the School of Dance until 2017.