Wednesday, 2 October 2013

DANCING FEVER: Wolmer's Troupe fuses art and celebration for enthralling 23rd season

POISED: A pair of dancers take the spotlight.

Watching the tiny tots of the Wolmer's Dance Troupe execute complex dance moves, you can't help but wonder how they retain the successive sequences and convey the expressions with such (seeming) ease and expert manoeuvres. Then your mind goes back to Barbara McDaniel, the enduring educator/choreographer pulling the strings, who has long proven her deftness at working with talents of varying ages and skill levels, but especially the young, who just seems to excel under the expert supervision and tutelage.

This year marks the 23rd anniversary season of the Wolmer's Dance Troupe, dubbed Dance the Art, and in keeping with the Wolmer's tradition, the season (held last weekend inside the Little Theatre in Kingston) boasted that signature mix of vibrant choreography, eye-popping costumes and no shortage of infectious exuberance and vivacity by the overwhelmingly female cast of tots, intermediates, juniors and seniors.

I particularly enjoyed pieces like Redemption (arguably the best piece in the show), McDaniel's upllifting homage to the Marley legacy and ideology, fuelled by samples of the legend's music and that of Rita Marley, the I-Threes, and Junior Gong. Staged in fine engaging movements, the piece was made all the more delightful by the breathtaking imagery (the twinning of gorgeous lighting and vivid costumes in brilliant Rastafarian colours) that contributed to the whole dance's requisite absorbing quality.

Overall, the two-part presentation drew on everything from gospel ("Myself", set to music by Crystal Lewis and Destiny's Child), soca (the vivacious, celebratory "Take to the Streets"), to hip-hop ("Just Move") to theatrical moments best described as interpretive dance, sprinkled with tunes by the likes of Nina Simome, Stevie Wonder and Sam Cooke.

"Dancing is an art that imprints on the soul," McDaniel knowingly points out in the show's booklet. "It is the art of the body, and as long as a dancer possesses a body he or she feels the expression in dancers' terms."

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