West Afrikan Intensive Summer Dance and Drum Camp Offered by Local Performing Arts Group


By Tony McCray

Nielah Spears, Founder and President of Performance, Blessings, and Jazz, Inc. (PB&J), a non-profit organization, is once again contributing to Pensacola’s diverse performing arts community continues its growth and development through its West Afrikan Intensive Summer Dance and Drum Camp at from June 23rd, 2017 to July 25th, 2017 at Voices of Pensacola in Downtown Pensacola at 117 W. Government St.  Classes are being held from Mondays through Fridays.

Spears spoke with the Gulf Coast Voice and began the interview by thanking the donors for their contributions in support of the students from the local African-American communities such as Pensacola Village and Pensacola’s Westside. The registration for the West Afrikan Intensive Summer Dance and Drum Camp is now $95 for three weeks of training from Baba Odun and Baba  Olaulu Ogunlano, Nielah Spears with Afro Caribbean and Dance and Body Conditioning with Dextria. There will be a break for the July 4th week.

Spears stated that the non-profit is still accepting donations to support more scholarships and fees for the youth to attend the 2017-18 summer camp. Spears is quick to thank the Downtown cultural arts center called, Voices of Pensacola, who’s staff (Casey Campbell) continues to encourage PB&J to continue their work in the Pensacola communities.  The Artel gallery also continues their support in facilitating a history lunch hour where the students get to have hands on experience with various mediums of fine and visual arts.  This lunch is hosted by local volunteers who share art work at the museum.

PB&J Inc. is one of the only non-profit cultural performing art programs offering everything from dance instrumental, theatre and fine arts as a holistic approach to the development of self.

Spears just returned from La Habana, Cuba with a group of students and professors from FAMU to conduct her yearly “service learning facilitation tour” to one of the many countries she’s traveled. Her goal is to develop international relationships for her local and national performing arts programs through the non-profit PB&J Inc., based here in Pensacola, Fl.  In an interview with the Voice Newspaper she stated, “Our mission is to create platforms for local and national artist for international audiences. PB&J programs goal is to inculcate art as a way of life, using arts and culture to develop the person”!

Spears says, that out of the 4 continents she has traveled, she has never seen a people said to be so in bondage by communism, appear to be so free. From the 7-year-old, to the 75-year-old, and everyone she met, from the lightest to the darkest skin complexion, they were all so proud of their African roots and culture and were bold in the tell of their history, and dared you to learn of their Cuban heritage and legacy.

Spears made a significant comment to the Voice that, “In the midst of all that we’re going through here in the U.S. and have been going through, it was a breath of fresh air to see a people thrive in their minds, souls, and spirits, through the beauty and richness of their pride, to the love for their education, music, food and spirituality, you cannot escape neither, they do not separate one from the other”!

Please do inquire.  Don’t allow pricing to keep you away! Scholarships are available.  Classes will resume July 10th at 117 East Government Street at Voices of Pensacola across Seville Square.

If you have any questions concerning contributions and/or joining the classes, please call 850-529-8959. They will be glad to serve you and in the case of potential students they are committed to supporting your financial needs.

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