It is expected to be four exciting days of non-stop local talent when the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) Performing Arts finals come off in two weeks’ time from November 10-13.
According to the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), producers of the annual festival, ticket sales are moving steadily especially for the Junior and Dance nights. Traditionally tickets for both nights go very quickly with sales for the other final nights close behind.
The Junior finals will be a mixed night with spectacular performances expected in all three disciplines – Dance, Theatre and Music. Of the finalists in the junior category, there will be seven each from dance and theatre and five from music, representing schools, community groups and individuals.
A number of the familiar and popular groups will be on stage for the Dance finals in different genres from contemporary, to Latin/Ball Room, Urban/Street and Caribbean Folk. The first time Aerial Silk performance is among pieces being adjudged along with the Gemini Project, a delightful mix of participants with physical and cognitive challenges and some without.
An initiative of the NCF that began with Theatre and was added to Dance within the last two years is the inclusion of coaches, qualified professionals in the art form with years of experience whose role is to give guidance and a constructive critique on the pieces. The Dance coaches this year are Sophia Mounter, Geraldine Lynch and Mary Waithe, all qualified professional dancers with experience in various genres under their belt. They provide a professional eye and assist the choreographers with dance development and techniques.
In Music, 19 non-professionals performing 26 songs and two semi-professionals performing three songs will be in play for the medals and special awards available in this discipline. There were 27 original entries this year and of that number, eight have advanced to the Music finals night and will be vying for the Jackie Opel Incentive Award comprising of a cash prize valued at BDS$1500, awarded for the best locally written, arranged and performed musical selection in any genre.
This is a national independence festival so the music in competition is primarily influenced by Calypso, Reggae, African Rhythms and, of course, some international influences of hip hop and classical.
Theatre night will be a diverse, engaging night with short forms and long forms of drama and speech dealing with a wide range of topics. The 11 acts in this Drama and Speech line up include two full length plays and two short plays.
Three of the four theatre entries from HMP Dodds have made it to the finals, among them – the true to life, graphic, explicit, full length play The Boss – Big Chiefa from the group, the Social Engineers, and the short play Mi Shoulda Lef Di Phone from Anna Lisa Thomas.
HMP Dodds returned to the NIFCA Performing Arts stage this year with their usual concentration in the Theatre and Music disciplines, after a short hiatus. Their hard-hitting pieces explore the scourge of drugs, crime and violence arresting our communities and the consequences that follow.
There are very timely messages given the national focus on violence and the recent consultations. However, The Boss – Big Chiefa may require parental guidance due to its mature content.
The other short play Cinderella comes from the Phoenix Performers, who continue to prove their talent despite their challenges.
The NIFCA Performing Arts finals are in association with Scotiabank, Sagicor and Massy Barbados Limited, the sponsors of the Dance, Juniors and the Creator’s Prizes respectively. This year, BIMAP has joined the NIFCA family with prize scholarships for the entrants in the new semi-professional category.
The finals will be held at the renovated Combermere School, Major Noot Hall from Friday, November 10 to Monday, November 13 starting at 7 p.m. The Hall carries a similar seating capacity to the Frank Collymore Hall so the NCF is anticipating the usual attendance at these upcoming events.