This teacher, preacher, television producer, and dancer has graced stages in China, Paris, The Caribbean and The United States and she is a native of The Bahamian soil. Dr. Hethann Higgins, known as Dr. Ann is truly a pioneer in the cultural and creative arts industries. Her untold story is one of trial, great triumph and a testament of the grace and mercy of God. She encourages many through her transparency and passion for people.
As a teenager, she experienced the heartache of her parents separating. Her path then became one of broken relationships, misuse of her gift of dance and lack of direction. Yet as she reflects, she said that the disappointments in her childhood actually evoked her passion to inspire youth to avoid common pitfalls. This is where her interest in youth empowerment and development began.
“Looking back at my childhood and where I came from, my parents’ separation devastated my life at the age of 13. My mom worked two jobs to take care of seven kids and my father was an alcoholic,” said Higgins.
She further explained, “As kids we were back and forth between Nassau and Grand Bahama; I was searching for my father who was never there so I noticed that all of my relationships were always with older men. I was looking for the father to pamper me and take care of me. These men would give me money, jewelry, and this is what I was searching for in the father that was never there.”
Dr. Higgins said that at a later point she realized that she was not the only person who had gone through this experience and had feelings of abandonment. “As a result, I’m now in the urban communities working with young people teaching them dance, while also helping to shape their morals, building their self image and esteem and supporting their life transformation.”
She believes that her heart leads her to work mostly with children and youth whose lives have been “injured” from negative experiences and the devastation of single parenting.
Dr. Higgins also has a creative eye for design and costuming. She loves incorporating the art of Junkanoo into her stage pieces.
She noted that she knew that she was born to dance from high school. “I always wanted to be in cheerleading, dance, and similar activities. I went away to school at the age of 17 and studied dance in New York because I had a desire to further my passion for dance.”
After becoming one of the first Bahamian dancers in the Freeport Casino, Dr. Higgins then moved to Nassau. “It wasn’t until after 16 years when they first built the Crystal Palace Hotel and Casino I ended up there about a year and a half until something wonderful happened,” she said.
With her face aglow and a smile across her cheeks, she then went on the share how her life transformed on February 10,1985—the day she received Jesus as Lord and Savior of her life.
“I gave my life to the Lord and then my dance changed. I thought introspectively… wow I danced to please men on the stage in the limelight but was so empty inside. I now have a new desire and a new joy.”
She added, “In 1986 Pastor Myles Munroe said to me, ‘God has given you a gift. You may have misused it but it was really given for you to serve Him.’ That is when I knew this was my true purpose.”
“I was really born to dance before the Lord. I started travelling all over the world with my Pastor dancing before he preached and we saw lives changed. My gift was meant to bring healing and deliverance to others.”
She recalled how she got so fill with the “fullness of joy” and excitement as she started to teach children the purpose of dance.
While some may know her as “the lady from Exercising by Faith,” an exercise show that aired on ZNS Television Station for many years— others simply call her Doc and she is a prayer warrior and counselor to many.
When asked, who is Hethann- she simply said that, “Hethann is that little girl who from a child knew there was something different about her.”
“…Even as a girl I always dreamt about God, seeing Jesus in the sky, and I had strange dreams about Heaven. I also used to hang out with the nuns and wanted to be like them because I wanted to be close to God – I wanted to be someone who would make a difference in her lifetime. I always knew that God had a special purpose for my life. I just didn’t know how to fulfill this purpose,” she said.
The Birth of Creative Folklore Arts Company (CFAC)
This dancer is also an entrepreneur who is keen on monetizing her skills and gifts. Creative Folklore Arts Company is in its 13th year and continues to flourish. Before it was only a dream says Dr. Higgins but after meeting her husband, Pastor Henry Higgins it became a reality.
“Both of us shared the same vision of wanting a Dance Company, and a Youth Community Center. We both desired to travel the world, exposing our Bahamian culture. As a result of us coming together, Creative Folklore Arts Company (CFAC) was born.” She added that Creative Folklore Arts Company has enabled them to travel nationally and internationally representing the Kingdom of God and it has also given their young people an opportunity to travel. Thirteen years later, she is still happy with both decisions she made; to get married and to start CFAC.
“My husband’s vision was always to work in the community. From the day I met him, his heart was set on effecting change in the urban communities. Being his helpmeet, I decided to help him fulfill his vision and as a result, my vision. So we found ourselves building the Community Center on Winsor Lane, Nassau Street and Farrington Road. Our goal is to have four centers nationwide. She said they both love reaching into the lives of young people; helping them to discover their gifts, and purpose.
Bahamas National Liturgical Dance Company and Conquerors for Christ Junkanoo Group were established through the Higgins union. “These organizations help us to keep the children off the streets, away from drugs, prostitution, and to provide guidance for those who have been molested and rescued from many abusive situations they found themselves in when we met them. Our organizations help to teach these children who they truly are.
Future for the Business and the Ministry
She explained that the future looks bright for their ministry and organizations. “Children are born everyday and as long as we have life, we have a reason to pour out into the lives of others until we are empty.” She further explained, “We are grateful for the opportunity to take these children all over the world, China, Paris, other parts of Europe, The Caribbean the United States. As long as we live, we have an opportunity to help our children to expand their gifts.”
Dr. Higgins noted that her greatest accomplishment is pouring into the lives of so many young people. “Watching the boys and girls bloom at the ages 7- 9, now they are matured at ages 20, 21, 22, and they have great jobs. Their lives have not been ruined by unwanted pregnancies, disease and sickness – they found their purpose in life. Watching them become a flower, blooming, into who God has called them to be, is my greatest accomplishment,” she said.
She further added that God has used her to pioneer liturgical dance throughout the country, and her husband to introduce Conquerors for Christ Junkanoo Group. She continues to serve her gifts at The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture as a Special Projects Coordinator. “As it relates to legacy, I would like to leave this earth knowing that I was a voice in my nation and not an echo.”
Encouraging words for upcoming creative artists
“I would encourage all who have a passion to see the legacy and culture of The Bahamas live on, to begin gaining knowledge, and taking this knowledge and imparting it in those born everyday. This is how we will keep our culture alive. This is how we will live out who we are as a people.”
She added that she hopes that “those coming up will not choose to divert from who we are as a people and our culture, but to stay embedded in what being Bahamian truly is.”