Gemini Project’s performance of Dis-Abled sought to highlight and deconstruct any notions that people with disabilities were unable to do anything. (Picture by Lennox Devonish.)
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It was a wonderful showcase of Barbadian talent on display on Sunday night at this year’s NIFCA Performing Arts Gala.
Whether it was in drumming, dancing, singing, drama, music or spoken word, the tradition of excellence shone brightly before the large audience at the Wildey Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex. It was an opportunity for those who did not attend any of the Performing Arts Semi-finals or Finals to see what they missed. For those who had attended NIFCA previously it was a chance to see some of their favourite performers again.
The hundreds of patrons saw and heard why Brandon Byer-Maloney, the pothole from Brighton, St George, earned the right to be called A Loyal Citizen. Earning a junior silver award and the Alfred Pragnell Award for the monologue which extolled the virtues of potholes, he had the audience in stitches.
The Gordon Walter’s Primary School student was one of the highlights of the four-hour show that also featured bronze award-winning choirs – George Lamming Primary and Alleyne School which performed How Many More and Total Praise, respectively; Combermere School student Drayann Cadogan-Regan who won a bronze award, an incentive award for the Most Promising Newcomer plus an award the Most Promising Performance by an individual for Rise Up and the young drummers of the Israel Lovell Foundation who opened the show in an explosive and energetic way with Rhythmic Force. They too earned a NIFCA bronze.
Elite Vox and the Marlon Legall Voice Project delivered another thrilling performance with Momma, Riots and Rebellion respectively showing that music can be taken to another level in Barbados while Fuzion Band’s Barbados We Come From was a refreshing taste of classic folk songs.
Showing the audience why their beautiful Sound of Silence copped a gold award, The Dance Collective was a joy to watch as they executed their graceful movements and Gemini Project demonstrated yet again that disability did not mean inability in (Dis-Abled).
Silver awardees Hillaby Nazarene Dance Ministry (Outpouring of Praise), Oneal Jackson (Tribute to Michael Jackson), Praise Academy of Dance (My World Needs You Now) and Dancin’ Africa juniors (Caribbean Rhythms) all delighted with their movements telling stories of praise, joy, heritage and adoration.
Hope and pushing past the struggle to do better came from spoken word artiste Damani Re who performed his bronze-winning piece City Lights while Cyndi Marshall, hit hard with her spoken word piece For Those Who Complain About Brain Drain, which secured a bronze award.
The Alexandra School’s performers told the story of cyberbullying in both a negative and positive way in Leh We Tek a Picture, while Akoya Dance Ensemble inspired in a piece with the same name. Pearls Dance Academy showed the effects of littering in the sea in Down Under. CS Kloud 9 playing Mr Smooth and Master Blaster, ended the show on a jazzy, relaxing note.
During the gala, Melissia Batson (culinary arts – Mount Gay infused chocolate bar), Linda Deane (literary arts – essay Phyllis, Dexter, Freddy and Wow) and Dave and Marcia Weekes of Step by Step Productions (film and video Barrow Freedom Fighter) were presented with the Governor General’s Awards of Excellence by Acting Governor General Sir Philip Greaves. They each received a trophy plus $7 500. (GBM)