The Barbados Community Dance Fest 2015 underwent a “significant shift” in the persons attracted to the competition, the keenness of which produced only razor-thin differences in points among winners.
So said the 2015-2016 artistic coordinator Dr John Hunte, as he addressed the production process that led to the awards ceremony on Saturday night in the car park of the Warren’s Office Complex for last year’s performances.
ADL Adrenalin grooved away with the top prize in the senior category, and Haynesville Youth Club danced into first place among the juniors.
But Hunte explained that there was little to separate the top-quality performances of all six prize winners.
“This year, what was particularly interesting to me was the difference between the first place and second pace in both the junior and senior events. In the adult category and the junior category, one point separated winners.
“It just speaks to the level of development that we have come to, because on any one day anyone could have won the competition.”
Hunte attributed the closeness in artistic output on the stage to one of the innovations brought to the ten-year-old competition that began as the Community Independence Dance Festival.
He said the novelty was “having a coach assigned to each group from audition process through preliminaries, semi-finals, through to national finals –– the idea that there was an outside eye that they could rely on, who could offer them a perspective that they could not see themselves”.
Hunte also spoke about another change, which he described as “a significant shift from what would normally be expected at Community Dance Fest”.
He said that in 2015 organizers sought to attract neighbourhood groups that might not have heard of Community Dance Fest before, “or if they did hear about it, we had the opportunity to change what was the perception of Community Dance Fest. Up until now it had developed as a street dance competition, and we have always known that other genres of dance were welcome, so we opened up the opportunity to other groups”.
Twenty-five groups participated, and Hunte said that despite this number representing a significant increase, many other teams had to be left out for various reasons.
“Still we were able to attract a few Latin and ballroom dance groups . . . a few groups who did contemporary dance who are traditionally involved, and we also had a fairly decent representation of Afrocentric dancers to compete, or to work alongside with the street dance groups.”