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Gala ends on low key


John Sealy

Gala ends on low key

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There were laughs and loud cheers from the capacity crowd that turned up at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex for the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA)?gala last Sunday.
But in spite of the award winners who took to the stage and did their best, a kicker performance was still lacking, making the three-hour show fall flat in terms of its entertainment value and came over just like another finals.
There was no buzz as the hundreds left the venue.
And that begs the question if the gala should comprise only a collection of medalled performances or be an occasion to celebrate the creative endeavours of all those who went before the judges during the finals.
The boundaries of art are made to be pushed. Not in terms of how long-winded a piece could be or in excessive jargon but by the artist’s ability to connect with the raw emotions of an audience operating within the very basic framework of competition rules.
Those who sit in judgement should be able to recognize uncut genius and be willing “to go” with the artists; not only agreeing that the actor has met certain criteria to win a medal.
It is against this background that the gala was generally mundane. There were no “Rihanna moments”.
The running order of the gala could also have been tweeked to extract maximun momentum of the show.
The gold award piece entitled The Crossing by Corey Bradshaw, Zachary Bostic and Leoandro Layne was exceptionally musical. One is not convinced, however, that the painful sound of violin – the lead instrument which transported the listener, nothwithstanding the intermittent snatches of joy and celebration, into a far-flung foreign land was the type of mood one wanted to be in four hours after the sun has set.
The performance by Bradshaw and company would have been better placed after intermission instead of being the penultimate piece.
Dancin’ Africa and Dance Place with their silver award winning routine Fusion did not have the wow factor to send home the audience on a high.
It might have been passed the bedtime of nine-year lead drummer Corey Maynard. He is a good finisher. Taking silver for his original piece Cool Summer, Maynard held the audience’s attention with skill and “brings it home with style and pizazz”.
Or why not let Adrian Greene bring the curtain down with his piece X-hale.
The National Cultural Foundation, producers of the event, should feel good about the gala, however. 
From as early as 4:30 p.m. the spacious carparks at the gym started to fill out and by the middle of showtime the facility with seating capacity of 5 000 was boasting of a sold-out crowd.
The gala, billed as a showcase of the crème de la crème of the season, was graced with the presence of Governor-General Sir Elliott Belgrave. He presented Cy Hutchinson with the Governor-General’s Award of Excellence for most outstanding piece by a professional called Careened II in the discipline of visual arts.
Sir Elliott also handed over the Governor-General’s Award of Excellence – most outstanding dish by a professional, in the discipline of culinary arts to Jason Joseph.
Both awards comprise of a trophy and $7 500.

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