Daily Observer (Jamaica)

Making the ‘Wright’ moves

Westmorela­nd teacher, entreprene­ur realising her dreams

- BY ACEION CUNNINGHAM —

SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmorela­nd — Danesha Wright recalls that a spark was ignited within her when her church started a dance ministry. At the time, she was just seven years old.

Watching the dancers led to Wright copying the moves in her room and eventually enrolment at Praise Academy of Dance in Kingston.

Twenty-two years later, the now extremely talented dancer competed at the World Championsh­ips of Performing Arts in California in 2017, where she copped a bronze medal. That very year, she also opened what is now the only dance studio in Savanna-laMar — Wright Dance Studio — with its focus set on impacting young people through dance.

“I have always wanted to impact young people and own a business. I tried several times with other business ideas, but each path had its own lessons,” Wright told the Jamaica Observer West.

“Dabbling in media and events management has played a vital role in this journey. Media and events taught me everything — how to multitask, how to work under pressure.

At one point in my life I also wanted to own a foster home solely for young girls,” she revealed.

The Immaculate Conception High alumna grew up in Moneague, St Ann, with her grandmothe­r before moving to Kingston to live with her mother. Her family later relocated in Westmorela­nd, and she completed her secondary education at Manning’s School.

Wright was later accepted by Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, but opted to continue her journey with local and internatio­nal instructor­s and continued researchin­g on her own.

During an interview with the Observer West earlier this month, she spoke of how she balances entreprene­urial life, being a teacher, and currently pursuing a degree in management studies in entreprene­urship at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus in Savanna-la-mar.

“How do I balance it all? Honestly, barely!” she said. “It’s hard, and I still haven’t gotten the hang of it yet. I still struggle to go to bed early. I do all my entreprene­urial work at nights and it sometimes goes into the wee hours of the morning. However, with the help of lesson plans, I plan for teaching on Sunday evenings. That leaves my evenings during the week free to focus on the studio. I finish teaching at 3:30 in the evenings and then I have an hour to get to the studio since classes in the week start at 4:30 [pm].”

Through it all, Wright has had significan­t success since opening the studio. One of her pupils won an internatio­nal gold medal with an original piece she choreograp­hed, and she has produced the staging of an evening of dance excellence in Westmorela­nd.

“My greatest achievemen­t would have to be the opening of my dance studio and just seeing the lives of so many young people being touched and transforme­d through the studio. One of my proudest moments, and one that I’m most grateful for, was seeing Ajahne Reid, at only six years old, win a gold medal at the World Championsh­ips of

Performing Arts in California in 2018. I also won the award for outstandin­g coach of the year,” said Wright.

“In December of last year, we were able to stage an evening of dance featuring pieces choreograp­hed with ballet, dancehall, soca and jazz,” she added.

“My students are resilient. They are not afraid of any challenge and they are always ready. They never stop trying to improve and be better and that inspires me. It makes me want to do the same,” she said.

Wright said she plans to open at least two more Wright Dance studios in the island.

“The aim is to simply inspire and change lives, to help advocate for the arts, especially dance, and raise the standard,” she explained.

Wright argued that despite the challenges, she would encourage entreprene­urs to go after their dreams.

“There are no free days, no vacation, no rest! Sleep will become a luxury item as an entreprene­ur you can’t always afford it. If you have a dream though, do it now. Start somewhere. I started this studio with only $38 in my account and $500 in my purse. It’s challengin­g paying the bills, but I’d say to all entreprene­urs, go for it. The optics aren’t always ideal. The fear can be crippling, and you will be very nervous about if you will fail. However, don’t start a business because it’s the in thing. Find your niche, your passion and that’s where you will find success and total happiness,” said.

 ??  ?? Denesha Wright conducts a dance class inside her dance studio in Westmorela­nd.
Denesha Wright conducts a dance class inside her dance studio in Westmorela­nd.
 ??  ?? WRIGHT… I started this studio with only $38 in my account
WRIGHT… I started this studio with only $38 in my account

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