WATCHING MULTIFARIOUS dance crew perform without cracking the slightest smile is like eating cake with chopsticks – possible, but highly improbable.
Made popular by a second-place at this year’s Community Dance Fest, the group is steadily building a name for itself comically-timed dancing.
But this is no laughing matter for members Stephen Maughan, Shane Jordan, Jamal Dawe and Cashka Turton.
As leader Stephen Maughan explained in a recent interview, entertaining their audience is serious business.
“If I am dancing for the sake of dancing, then I don’t mind what I am dancing to, but if I am dancing to entertain people, then I am going to entertain them. I want feedback every 30 seconds. Something has to be happening; I have to be giving you something.”
“[We] have taken the comical side of things, because everyone likes to laugh and you will remember that someone made you laugh.”
That’s exactly what patrons get. Last seen at February’s Love, Poetry and Song, Multifarious had the audience at the grounds of Ilaro Court in stitches with its routine, titled Heroes.
“If [the routine] is too static, then it gets boring,” he asserted. “If it gets to the point where you can say, I can look at any one of these [dancers] now, if your eyes do that, then the people on the stage are doing something wrong.”
Each member of Multifarious Dance Crew was once a part of another group and met as colleagues in Element. Due to internal conflicts, Stephen branched out on his own, starting the group late last year. The new crew made its debut at this year’s Community Dance Fest, held on Errol Barrow Day at the gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Complex.
He explained the name Multifarious was chosen to represent the ultimate aim of bringing diversity to the local dance scene: “not just one dance style [but] an overall different experience from the other groups.”
Stephen is also the brainchild behind most of Multifarious’ moves, which he said was a mix of freestyling, YouTube research and consulting other members, who all relied on pure natural ability.
“I don’t always have a bunch of moves going around in my head, because they are only tons,” he quipped.
Twenty-something-year-old dance aficionados might also remember Stephen as a member of Turbulence, which reigned during the mid to late 2000s.
“I am using that experience to drive that thing forward I learned some things about how things work on stage.”
Moving forward, there are plans to grow its numbers, although with some reservation.
“I am considering expanding, but not before getting paid properly. . . [Dancing] is time consuming and it does cost money, but we try to get gigs that compensate for our entertainment. We also do gigs that give exposure…but we also have to alter the performances to the crowd and what suits them.” (LW)