THE SCOTIABank 2014 NIFCA Performing Arts Dance finals played out before a sold-out crowd at the Frank Collymore Hall Sunday night.
Patrons were treated to a menu of dance expressions drawing heavily on the contemporary where the artistes challenged themselves both creatively and technically to get their messages across propelled by appropriately selected music.
It was a long night as 21 dance pieces were on show. The judges also requested that Determined, a solo piece by Zhane Bridgeman-Maxwell, and Living To Survive by Dancin Africa, be repeated.
The evening opened with the Motivation Dancerz with Urban Africa. It was good to see the youngsters linking with the African continent albeit through Westernised Street Dance lenses. But Africa is a big place and trying to depict it through such a narrow spectrum might be shortsighted. They should be encouraged.
Another setback for the Motivation Dancerz was the poor quality of the intro video clip. The muffled quality and intrusive sounds in the background made it difficult to understand what choreographer Jaleni Matthews-Ifill intended to convey. Unfortunately a number of the video clips were badly recorded and edited causing a lot of the story behind the productions to be lost.
Justin Poleon, with his piece entitled It, which took the audience into a realm of fantasy with its tantalising moves and then his teaming up with Megan Navarro for Turned To Stone provided the standout pieces for the night. Poleon at this timeis a plus for local dancing.
Christian-Paul “GiiibbZ of Fizix” Gibson is an upcoming choreographer/dancer who pushes not only his creative intellect to an extreme but his body also. Gibson’s piece entitled His Substance was an introspection of inner turmoil. He teamed up again with Guy Smith in his second choreography entitled Two Ghosts? which was equally intriguing as they depended heavily on the popping /robotics techniques. One downside is the piecewas a bit long.
There were a number of pieces that spoke to social issues like the GMC Dance Project’s To Multiple Sclerosis; Dancin’ Africa’s Not My Name, a commentary on mental health, and Numbers, which addressed self- awareness and self worth.
One of the more provocative pieces came from the pen of Aisha Comissiong in Animal Farm (circa 2014). The Dancin’ Africa work was sold as political satire and played out against a set design highlighting images of the Parliament Buildings and its configuaration. Visibly displayed on the set was an inscription Barbados Lab Project. The entire scene was driven by haunting mesmerising music and climaxed with each side screaming at each other saying ‘it is not my fault’.
The Reactive Dancers were also hit with the audience in Bajan Culture, while Dancin’ Africa brought down the curtain with Reconnections.
The almost four-hour event pointed to a plethora of talent and widening interest in dance. Those others contributing to the effort were Element with Perception; the Zane Bridgeman-Maxwell Group in Her Sisters’ Keeper, the Pehnyo Dance Company with Saga, Shea Best’s Blackbird, Nicole Hall’s and Leanne Hall Presence of the Enemy and Louise Woodvine’s In Remembrance and Consider Yourself.
The Season of Excellence continues tonight with the Digicel NIFCA Performing Arts Theatre Finals at 7 p.m. at the Frank Collymore Hall.