Senator Gregory Nicholls, the appointed Arbiter for competitions produced by the National Cultural Foundation has delivered his ruling on the complaint brought against the Foundation by the Praise Academy of Dance.
The Academy entered two performances in this year’s NIFCA performing arts competition; one of which was disqualified by the presiding panel of judges. The principals of the group subsequently lodged a complaint with the Arbiter, as provided for in the competition rules of NIFCA.
The ruling, dated November 17th, and disseminated to both parties stated: “In the matter of the Arbitral complaint by Praise Academy of Dance under the NIFCA Rules, the decision of the Arbiter is that there is no basis to interfere with the prior decision of the Judges of the entry “Speak Life” which was disqualified under rule 9B of the NIFCA Rules.
“The rationale for my decision to dismiss the complaint is that the NIFCA Judges are experienced practitioners in their respective fields and are carefully chosen by NCF to judge in its competitions.
“The Judges determined that the entry was in breach of the Rules, more specifically, in that it exceeded the bounds of good taste. The entry was adjudged to have denounced various gender identities of the LGBTQ community via raging characterisations and expressions. This was a determination that the experienced panel of Judges were entitled to make.” The ruling further stated: “The rules in question have been in place for many years and the complainant has entered NIFCA under the said rules. This demonstrates that the complainant agreed to the rules of the competition and to abide by the same.”