Society's mirror

JOHN SEALY,

Added 04 November 2012

nifcafinals20122

THE FACT THAT artistes, through their works,  reflect what goes on in everday life was demonstrated  as the Frank Collymore Hall hosted the LIME NIFCA Performing Arts Dance Finals Friday night. The choreographers reinforced their right to deal with issues  of the day: domestic violence; discrimination against those suffering from AIDS and cancer; bullying; exploitation;  and the horrors of the slave trade. There were also pieces that spoke just to dance – Cara Nichols’ Liberty, Louise Woodvine Dance Academy’s Support and Haunted, Pinelands Creative Dance Workshop’s Bele  – The Legacy and Mark Burgess’ A Cha Cha Cha. They provided that relief the human soul clamours  for in the mayhem that defines human existence. One should not interpret criticism of the dark narratives  of the artistes as putting a stranglehold on creativity.   Hers-Tory, a piece choreographed by Aisha Comissiong, captured the agony and exploitation of the African woman,  her loss of identity and effort to recapture it. The piece not only made us squirm in our seats but it forced  us to ask: is the battle of the African woman trying to recapture whom she is lost? Should the artistes move from just telling  the story to finding answers? No, I Am Not Okay by Dancin’ Africa looked  at the discrimination meted out to the disadvantaged – AIDS  or cancer victims – but the piece still left us hanging without  a solution. Maybe finding a solution could have been the thrust  of the narrative. Choreographer Megan Navarro’s piece Support was refreshing. As she said, it was essentially to inspire confidence  in her charges for them to discover themselves. Shelly Durant and Rodney Grant, choreographer and director respectively of the Pinelands Creative Workshop, touched everyone with their execution of the Bele – The Legacy.  The piece, an extract from the French influence on social life  in Trinidad, was noticeable for its lavish costume  and the regal presence of the dancers. They Didn’t Know, a religious piece about redemption  by New Creation Ministries, was awesome. Its message  was “let joy be unconfined”. Choreographer Susan  Archer-Griffith created a sense of space and time and drew  on the appropriate dynamics as she swung, collapsing,  to convey her message. Roots by the Haynesville Youth Club, based on West African dance moves, conveyed a sense of freedom and togetherness. Les Batailles d’un Teenager by the ElevaXion Dancers gave the audience a peek into the inner turmoil of a teenager. The evening was an opportunity to see the top dance choreographies on a bigger stage.

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