Tuesday, 28 November 2017

VISUAL APPEAL: Company Dance Theatre delivers a stellar showcase on the eve of their 30th anniversary

MAGIC MOMENT: CDT's variety of movement and music, moods and textures, easily won over the large audience.

“THE Web” by Tony Wilson is probably the saddest dancework you’ll ever see performed on the Jamaican stage. Driven by the mournful strains of songbird Lisa Gerrard, the very elegiac work features ghost-like dancers losing themselves in the delicate choreography, as they explore grief, identity, sexuality, freedom and other ideas to heartbreakingly sorrowful effect. The costuming – female and male dancers dressed billowy black skirts with red strings – and the varied lighting by Nadia Roxburgh amplified the work’s overall appeal.

“The Web” was one of six pieces showcased during Company Dance Theatre’s thrilling 29th season (at the Little Theatre in Kingston last weekend), which proved that for a troupe on the cusp of entering its third decade, CDT still ranks among the cream-of-the-crop in the biz.

Wilson also dipped into the archives to remount “Silhouette” (2002), a jazz-club dancefloor offering, full of energy, slinky movement and lots of sexy shoulder attitude. We loved the loose-fitting sleeveless dresses, the neon-bright strobe lights and the infectious big-band sounds courtesy of Duke Ellington.

By contrast, Wilson’s “Journey” (2013), driven by master composer Hans Zimmer’s majestic score, featured the dancers alternately exuding gracefulness and a warrior-like energy, as the moods and textures, nuances and contours of the work manifested. By the time the climax came, their beautiful young bodies were all a-glistening with sweat under the bright lights.

While the agile Steven Cornwall delivered a stellar solo during “Journey’s third movement, the talented Rochelle Kamika was a seductively virtuous centerpiece for “Streams” (2005), a moody, transporting work centred on purity, cleansing and a sense of rebirth. 

The night’s other choreographer was Renée McDonald, a CDT alumna who has gone on to do amazing things on the international scene. She returned home this season to remount the girl-power smash “Divulgence”. It didn’t have the mesmerizing flame of the 2014 original (that was truly something else), but it still connected with its unbridled and simply exhilarating adrenaline quotient. 

We loved McDonald’s brand-new work “5Urge,” which boasts four females and a male making light work of the mercurial choreography. Subtly erotic to boot, the piece finds the dancers ‘getting acquainted’ and moving in sync, while making use of the ample stage space – in the end, giving new meaning to danger and the heart’s desire. 

McDonald is beyond talented. Her work is – consistently – living, breathing art, and “5Urge” is compelling testament. Wilson, the man who groomed her, must be one proud papa.

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