Dothlyn Joyce Campbell OD was a lady of firsts: A founding member and principal dancer of Jamaica’s world-renowned National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) founded in 1962; the first Coordinator for the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) established in 1963 – formerly the Jamaica Festival Commission- and the Jayteens Dance Troup which she established, also in the 1960s.
Miss Campbell was undoubtedly the most powerful influence in resurrecting and bringing to the entire Jamaica, and indeed the world,our African culture in dance and song which our forefathers brought with them and which they performed privately among themselves, for fear of punishment from the slave masters.
It was through Miss Campbell’s hard work that such traditional dances as the maypole, dinki-mini and quadrille have become recognized as authentic dance forms of which we should be proud. She conducted dance workshops in schools and communities throughout Jamaica, to bring them to the national stage in annual performances such as ‘Mello-Go-Round’ as well as to take them overseas to North America and Britain.
She was dedicated to her mission of serving her country, of getting the younger generation involved in and appreciative of our traditional folk forms – songs and dance. She devoted more than forty years of her life to this mission and was recognized for her outstanding contribution and unswerving dedication, with the award of the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) by the Government of Jamaica, as well as the Institute of Jamaica’s Bronze Musgrave Medal. Even after her official retirement from the JCDC, Miss Campbell continued to give oof her services to the further development, exposure and preservation of our cultural heritage.
Miss Campbell summed up her contribution thus: “I have had a fulfilling life and I am quite happy with myself. I think this is why, even at this age, I am still involved with the JCDC and am still going strong. Age is a number, it’s a matter of how you feel.”
Patriotic: To be patriotic is to love your country without reservation, to be prepared to die for your country.
Photo – NDTC