CHARLES KONG SOO
Talented singers, musicians, dancers, artists, actors and models from more than 70 countries across the US, Canada, Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa will be competing in the World Championship of the Performing Arts (WCOPA), considered the Olympics for the performing arts, from July 12-23, 2019, in Long Beach, California, USA.
Just like in the Olympics, the coveted prize at the World Championships of Performing Arts is the gold medal.
Besides awarding gold, silver and bronze medals, and Olympic-style trophies, recording contracts, scholarships from prestigious dance academies, drama and art schools and film and television are given out plus the bragging rights of being the best of the best, the elite of the elite in the entertainment industry which many use as a springboard to Hollywood.
Trinidadian Christon Andell, 21, is taking part in the prestigious event, he is a member on the 20-team contingent from T&T.
Known for The Lower East Side (2017), Doll City (2018), and The World's Edge (2018), this is the New York-based actor and cinematographer's second foray in the contest.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian, National Director for T&T of the World Championship of Performing Arts Candice Clarke, Andell's mother said "In 2015 he was the only contestant out of five from T&T to make it to the final round for vocals as a rapper and won two divisional awards for vocals and acting. He also won a professional medal and four other medals in addition to two scholarships to the prestigious New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and the New York Film Academy.
"Some countries had 100 people...Philippines, South Africa had 90 plus. Out of the five members from T&T, we had one person in the finals, Jamaica had five contestants and a person from Jamaica, Francois Medley won the Vocalist Of The World category."
She said people were rooting for Andell to win, but he had problems with his microphone and his diction didn't come off clear to the judges.
Clarke, a member of the International Dance Council said Andell's greater passion for acting led him to accept, attend and graduate with his Associate Degree from the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in 2018 and he was now based in New York with the hope of landing larger acting roles.
She said as his mother, she remembered him saying to her that he wanted to go to that competition to win a scholarship.
Clarke, a member of the T&T National Registry of Artists and Cultural Workers said she asked him if he believed he could win a scholarship if he entered the WCOPA and his response to her was full of conviction so she said to him "Okay son, let's do it."
She said it was expensive but she made the sacrifice for him because her son had enough faith to win.
Clarke, the artistic director/choreographer of The Candice Clarke Academy Of Dance (CCAD), said Andell put his best forward at dance classes when they were younger children. She said as he grew older, he branched off as a dedicated, hardworking professional actor.
Clarke said at Andell's college graduation function, his final reel film was presented to the graduation class among other selected few classmates, it was directed by 186 Production, where he played the main character, Dwayne.
She said in 2018, he was also featured in his sister's (stage name Sauce the Rapper) music video, filmed and directed in Hollywood.
Clarke said three days before celebrating his 21st birthday on April 27, 2019, he appeared as an extra in the upcoming movie Gemini Man in which his icon Will Smith was the lead actor.
She said while Andell was based in New York, he continues to send in his audition scripts and demos to one day be in a feature blockbuster film.
Clarke said she was confident T&T was going to score major titles this year in the World Championship.