Acts aim high
Remember the name Christian-Paul Gibson or the moniker Giiibbz of Fizix and make plans to see him at this year NIFCA Finals.
If the 20-year-old urban dancer who mesmerised the moderate audience during his self choreographed and directed performances at Friday night’s NIFCA Performing Arts Semi-finals does not make it to that stage, one might have to ask questions.
If you have ever watched the movie Step Up, some of his movements are reminiscent of the character Vlad, the robot-like dancer. He created a buzz in The Lester Vaughan School auditorium and stood out from the other performers with his limber movements and facial expressions during both performances of His Substance and Two Ghosts?
In the riveting first piece, a solo, he used different genres of music to relate the story of a problem-plagued young man who sought refuge in smoking but crashed from his high.
In the second half he was joined by Guy Smith for an equally engrossing performance. Their synchronised robotic moves, stark white make-up, the lighting and smoke combined to draw the audience into the story of Now, the time ghost and Then, the speed ghost. Each calculated movement gave an insight into measuring distance.
The audience enjoyed both performances with some calling for an encore.
Dancer Justin Poleon was just as good as he took the audience along on his journey of The Discovery. You always expect a high standard from this dancer and he delivered through a variety of moves, a delight to watch.
Another act that stood out was SKF Steelsounds. Eighteen of the 21 members on stage created the effect of sounding much larger.
Performing Farmer Nappy’s Big People Party with infusions from at least two other songs, they were energetic, connected with the audience and seemed to be enjoying themselves on the steel pans. They were loud and loving it and the audience showed their appreciation with robust applause and encouraging shouts.
Kathleen Cothran’s performance of Jessie J’s Price Tag showed she has a bright future as a singer. Accompanied by Chrystal Cummins Beckles on piano and Taylor Brayley on acoustic guitar, and two singers, she was good and found favour with the audience.
Shernelle V. Clarke who brought the curtain down on the event, showed off her vocal ability with her strong voice and clear diction in the two songs she chose – In The Valley and Raining. She should be in line for another medal this year.
The same could be said of 18-year-old Nicholas Stevenson whose display of his skills on the trumpet and the steel pan, the two instruments he favours, is Finals worthy.
While he was accompanied by John Bryan on the piano in his first-half performance of Trumpet Concerto 1, during the second part where he did All My Help Comes From The Lord, he played the steel pan before switching to the trumpet.
The four-member band More To Say definitely have more to say to Barbados and the rest of the world. Having been together for a few months, they gelled well and offered solidly good performances of their original pieces I Was Just Wondering and We Can’t Go on.
Danesa Leslie’s dramatic piece, Well Run Dry was well received as was Elijah Tafari’s Young Man. The former touched on several issues of the day but was not very memorable. Tafari sang positive, conscious lyrics urging young men to stop the violence and gunplay and do right.
Other performers during the first semi-finals were Ann Allen who rendered the thought provoking song Where Is My Country; the Haynesville Youth Club’s which performed a dance showing that mothers can fish too to feed their children; Tony Cutting who, accompanied by Jomo Lashley on African drum, sang two originals Responsible and Pow Pow; Kibibi Lee (Look At Little Me dance), Remington Forde (dance –I.N. Sight) Edmund Grazette (Sold Out –speech), Serenity Steelpan Group (Panic and Hallelujah), Hasani Wilson whose speech entitled Ms Kadooment ended abruptly, prompting a woman to say “I was expecting more”. It also led to him receiving a smattering of applause.
The tradition of excellence continues tonight and next weekend. (Green Bananas Media)