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“I was with The Ashe Company for a time. I started out as an assistant Stage Manager and transitioned to being a part of the cast for the rerun of “Ded Leff’”, which was a play they had in 2014/2015. Rudolph Tomlinson introduced me to Aria who wanted some dancers. Rudolph said I could try it out and made the connection. Aria was a member of Father Ho Lung (& Friends) at the time and so was the director for the project, who invited me to join Father Ho Lung as well. I’ve been with them since 2015/2016, doing all the shows held annually (with the exception of this year, of course) and went with them on a tour to Florida to do our show called “Moses” in order to raise money for missionary work. It was really overwhelming for me, and just happened to fall during my birthday so it was top of the line. They’re like family to me. I would never trade the stress of stage life and performing for anything.”
When did you become involved in the creative arts?
“Church, probably. I discovered I could dance, and I could sing. I discovered my writing ability while in primary school…never really did much with that until later on. Started going to dance school when I was 6 or 7, and really it was history from there. I started out at the Praise Academy of Dance (a Christian dance school). Never did much singing until my teenage years when they roped me into the junior praise team. I tried different community groups, Institute of Jamaica, Heart of Arts, and also Edna summer school one year. I kept in contact with a lot of creatives, and that has opened the door for me to do several other creative works.”
Heart Of Arts performing their POPULAR DANCE C piece "Riddim in The Beat" here at our 2019 #dancenationalfinal #jcdc #performingarts #talented #jamaicans #dancers #dancelovers #dancelife #dance #performers #creativity
Posted by Jamaica Cultural Development Commission ( JCDC) on Monday, April 29, 2019
(Anya-Jean at far right with locks performing with Heart Of Arts at JCDC)
Do you have any memorable performances?
“My most memorable performance to date would definitely be the one at Sandals. It was my second time entering this mandatory performing arts competition for the entertainment staff. The first time I entered, it was with a dance piece in a duo; that didn’t really get past the second round. Second time I entered, it was with a spoken word piece that I just wrote from my head. I have my moments when I can just put pen to paper and create magic. I love moments like those. When it went on to the final stage of the competition, I went on to represent Jamaica and my resort (Sandals South Coast) in the competition against other Caribbean islands where there are Sandals branches. I won for the spoken word category. I think that was such a surreal moment for me because even after I won, I still couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t in shock or anything, but I didn’t think that that piece would have won.
There was another where I entered JCDC and did a dance solo for the first time; I think I got a bronze medal. That was in 2017, so that was pretty cool also.”
How do you find a balance between creating and being an entrepreneur?
“I haven’t really been an active creative since Covid-19 for a lot of reasons, but what is in the pipeline is fusing my creativity with my business which is advertising my client’s businesses and products/services for them. Of course, dubs are in the pipelines, short dramatic skits, dance steps probably…it’s not so much about striking a balance, it’s really about how one skill, ability, talent or gift compliments the other. I’m all about complementing.”
How did you come up with the idea for your business, “Dweet Fi Mi”?
“It really came from a place of wanting to help persons. On my WhatsApp, I advertise quite a bit of persons’ businesses and products for them, and if you know dem people deh status weh yuh jus waan skip pass it cause it full up a too many posts? My status became that, and persons would say “You’re good at advertising and you support so many people – why not just make a business out of it? Doing a page, it can hold more than a WhatsApp status can.”
(Anya-Jean’s dance segment can be seen above at 1:10:41 – 1:42:00)
Do you have any advice for those striving to live their best lives?
“That person needs to have their own version of what that best life is. Don’t follow social media. Personally, I would say there is no best life to have lived without God in it. Be yourself. Accept yourself, but not from the standpoint of being arrogant and not changing; accept the things about you that are uniquely you, but give yourself room to grow and blossom. Be teachable, life is all about learning and being taught and teaching. Learn to love your own company, which is something I’m also learning – -especially in this current pandemic. Know what you bring to the table, and analyze your skill set – yeah, the market may be saturated but nobody is like you. Even if you have to fake the confidence, you fake it ‘til you make it. There are people who believe in you, even when you don’t feel like it. A bad day doesn’t mean a bad life, and like my mother always says, there is always someone out there who has it worse than you so never be ungrateful and too proud. Treat people with respect, kindness and love. Be patient with people. Don’t be quick to grow impatient with persons, but be wise about it. Surround yourself with people who mean you well. When someone shows you who they are, believe them and trust that gut feeling, or the Holy Spirit in your subconscious. Be prudent in your spending.”
Please feel free to contact Anya-Jean at:
Blessings in abundance!