Dancers' Paradise: Jamaican dancer eyes Broadway
Although 27-year-old Antonio Campbell only discovered his passion for dancing in 2007, he says the undeniable connection he feels when he is on stage tells him that he is exactly where he needs to be doing exactly what he was born to do.
Campbell, who is a member of the Ashe Performing Arts Group and the Movement Dance Company, told Dancers’ Paradise that he started out singing.
“I discovered I could dance when I joined the Ashe Company back in 2007. The artistic director, Michael Holgate, saw my raw talent and told me that I’m a great dancer. I said: “What? No Sir”. I thought that my passion was in singing, but today I can say, it truly is dance,” Campbell said.
Performing on Broadway is one of Campbell’s ultimate dreams, and a few months ago those aspirations seemed far-fetched. But today, Campbell is much closer to turning his Broadway dreams into reality, after a successful audition for Disney’s The Lion King. Last month, Campbell was among a group of local dancers who auditioned for the prestigious musical. He made it to the final callbacks and is now awaiting news of his selection to join the cast of the legendary show in the United States.
If he is selected, Broadway would be another door dance has opened for Campbell, who has been globetrotting since 2007.
“Since that discovery with the Ashe Company, I have performed all over Jamaica, the Caribbean, The United States and Europe,” he reiterated.
But, even though dance has thrown many opportunities at Campbell, he has had moments when he felt like giving up.
“There have been many times where I have wanted to give up, especially from a financial perspective. If it wasn’t for Michael Holgate, Conroy Wilson and Ashe, I would not have a profession in the performing arts today. This year marks 12 years being in the company, and I have learned not only about dance and other art forms, but also life lessons,” Campbell said.
“Whenever I had bad experiences happening in my life, I could always find a song that would help to change my thinking or motivate me to get back and take control of my situation. Our executive director Conroy B Wilson always told me to remember our first rule of empowerment. That is: ‘What I think or say about myself is far more important than what others think or say about me’.”
With that philosophy in mind, Campbell is determined to dance his way through adversities. He believes that with hard work and the help of like-minded individuals around him, he will build a legacy in dance that his family and country can be proud of.