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.