As Therrell Smith greeted family and friends during her 100th birthday party Nov. 5 at the University of the District of Columbia, she said she was thankful to be so blessed.Therrell Smith is pictured at a celebration for her 96th birthday. On Nov. 5, the D.C. dancer turned 100. (Courtesy photo)Identified as a D.C. dance legend by the International Association of Blacks in Dance, Smith, who has spent most of her life in D.C., has enjoyed spreading cheer to others through dance. She said she has been dancing since she was 8-years-old.“I am very blessed to see the age 100 and to still be able to do the things that I’ve been doing,” she told the AFRO, in reference to her mobility.“It brings me joy to know that I’ve touched so many lives. This is what my life is all about, my goal is to continue. This is what keeps me going.”As a teen, Smith attended Dunbar High School in Northeast D.C. where she choreographed several of the school’s plays and operettas. After graduating high school, Smith studied at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., where she spent summers working as a dance teacher at a summer camp in Wisconsin. After graduation, she continued to work with young people as a camp counselor and drama teacher at a camp in Massachusetts. During her younger years, she was selected to study in Paris under the famous Mathilde Kschessinska, prima ballerina assoluta of the Imperial Russian Ballet.“There is no finer person than I can think of to be a better role model. She is just an excellent person,” her niece Shelley Brown told the AFRO.In the District, Smith founded the Therrell Smith School of Dance in 1948. Through the school she has taught dance at the LeDroit Park Nursery School, on Rhode Island Avenue in Northwest D.C. and at the school’s current site on Bunker Hill Rd in Northeast D.C. Smith attends Unity Church in Northwest D.C.“I didn’t think about dancing as a livelihood, but it was a good choice”, Smith told the AFRO.Smith, who was born and raised in D.C., has been a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for 78 years.“She is a warm, loving, and a humble person. She is very giving and willing to serve which is demonstrated through the community,” Jackie Harris, who is Smith’s sorority sister and has known her for many years, told the AFRO.
The Maldives Roadshow held in Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi created a very positive response among the Indian travel trade and media community recently. The roadshow was held to further increase its market share from India. Maldives continues to remain the eighth-most popular destination from India for outbound travel.Organised by the Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC), 11 representative partners from the tourism industry of Maldives participated at the roadshow together with MMPRC. They were Trans Maldivian Airways Pvt Ltd, Bandos Island Resort and Spa, Atoll Discovery PVT LTD, Reollo Travel, Let’s Go Maldives, Sun Siyam Resorts, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, Adaaran Resorts, Canopus Akuasun Maldives Pvt Ltd, Bathala Island Resort. Air India collaborated with MMPRC as the Airline partner for this roadshow. The road show offered a platform for the Maldives to establish direct contact with the Indian travel trade. It is also an opportunity for the Indian travel trade to receive the latest updates of Maldives as well as directly meet the representatives from some of the Maldives’ most popular hotels and resorts and travel agents who are participating at the roadshow together with MMPRC.Hussein Lirar, Deputy Tourism Minister, Maldives who was present for all four roadshows said, “India is a very important market for us and we are confident that we will see an increase in numbers from here as Maldives is a destination that offers a complete experience for everyone – whether it is honeymoon travel or as a family holiday.”Reena Abdul Wahid, Marketing Officer, MMPRC was also part of the contingent for the roadshow gave a presentation on Maldives to the assembled audience in each city and talked about the various offerings that Maldives has for the tourist. “Hosting the roadshow will further increase arrivals from India.”An overwhelming response was received from the Indian travel trade for the Maldives roadshow, indicating their level of interest in the destination. The attendees in each city included tour wholesalers, travel agents and media from India. Raffle draws was held in each city with holidays in Maldives, hotel stays and many other goodies being won by the attendees.Indians made up 3.8% of the visitors to the Maldives up to December 2014. A total of 45,587 visitors from India visited Maldives last year which is a growth of 19.9% compared to year 2013. Maldives offers free visa on arrival for all nationalities which is a further boost for the Indian traveller.2015 will see a focus to strengthen existing relationships and jointly working with the airlines.