MAKING MOVES: Company Dance Theatre, Xaymaca, North America’s Alvin Ailey troupe – the number of performing arts companies that have been mounting works by Renée McDonald is on the rise. This comes as no surprise as McDonald (at just 20-something) is already displaying a genius for locating the statement-making art in choreography, producing works that not only move and captivate but also delight and instruct. Her latest offering, “5Urge,” the sole new work that the Tony Wilson-led CDT presented during their recent 29th season, continues her impressive track record, with its eloquent vocabulary, engrossing movement and tight flow. Simply unforgettable. Catching up with her after the show, we had to ask about the Alvin Ailey experience earlier this year. “It was really life-changing. I never thought that was something I’d experience so early in my career. I don’t know how to explain it,” she confessed, blushing uncontrollably. The work she presented clocked five minutes. Now she’s looking to turn it into a 21-minute offering. McDonald is a multi-tasker. At present, she is on her final lap at the Norman Manley Law School, looking to join her peers at graduation next year. But she is facing a dilemma. “I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to do choreography or do law full-time,” she admits. Why not do both? we suggest. “I might eventually do that,” she concedes, “But I really need to figure out my life!” Instinct tells us she’ll figure it out.
DANCEHALL REWIND: With their December stage production, From Den Till Now: Inna Dancehall Style, the Orville Hall-led Dance Xpressionz wants to highlight the evolution of Jamaican dancehall (and dance) culture over the decades, fusing movement, drama and other elements into an exhilarating and edutaining whole. “In reggae and dancehall, we have embraced different genres and styles from all over the world – Latin beats, afro beats, hip-hop. So a lot of the younger generation don’t know where the music is coming from. They think they have invented something new. They don’t take the time to study the history of the dancehall,” Hall observes. With From Den Till Now, DTX (now 16 years old) is talking them to school. The production opens December 8 at the Phoenix Theatre in New Kingston.