LIGHT AND DARK: Kerry-Ann Henry in Stefanie Thomas' "Unmasked." Below: the choreographers assemble for a Q-&-A session.
Observing the apt theme “Revisiting the Past, Forging the Future,” the National Dance Theatre Company hosted their annual young choreographers’ showcase last Sunday evening at the St. Andrew-based NDTC Studios. Featuring a programme of eight new works and works-in-progress (as well as an excerpt from Rex Nettleford’s weighty 2002 opus “Cave’s End”), the evening saw a performance steeped in vibrant choreography, rich storytelling and eclectic choreography while firmly rooted in West Indian and global cultural realities.
Easily ranking among the most outstanding contributors were Abeldo ‘Toki’ Gonzalez-Fonseca (the ecstatic Kevin Moore solo “Gallo Fino”) and Marlon Simms and Neisha Yen-Jones, who co-presented “Ode to the Lost,” a moving pas de deux about grief and letting go. But there was absolutely nothing secondary about the sublime offerings by Keita-Marie Chamberlain (the haunting “Trapped,” centred on confinement and struggle, performed by a trio) and Kerry-Ann Henry, who held the audience riveted with a brilliant, dignified excerpt from “Out of the Shadows,” a work-in-progress.
Meantime, I also found myself occasionally caught up in the rapturous energy of “Hear Me Speak,” Natalie Chung’s vibrant, foot-stomping dance based on the tragic Karla-Faye Tucker story, and the deliriously kinetic “Fresh,” spiked with hypnotic modern-dancehall grooves and tonnes of attitude, which brought the show to a close.
Following the performance, the choreographers thoughtfully engaged members of the audience in a lively Q-&-A discussion on the challenges attendant to their craft, not to mention the supreme importance they attach to redefining their sense of expression in keeping with the NDTC’s longheld emphasis on renewal, continuity and experimentation. Overall, an evening well spent.
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