By Simone Tull
The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) has hosted a series of events all geared towards celebrating who we are as a people through various artforms.
On Saturday night these festivities reached a crescendo, with dancers being able to tell their story.
Through the rhythmic movement of their bodies, they spun their intricate tale under the watchful eyes of the large audience gathered at the Frank Collymore Hall for the NIFCA Dance presentation Rebirth of a Nation.
The story was emphatically told by the major players in the local dance industry using a range of styles under the artistic direction of Shea Best and Gina Mayers with a script written by Michelle Cox.
The chronicle of this historical journey opened with the Pinelands Creative Workshop performing Afroship. Clad in crisp white suits, their movements were sharp as they heeded the call of their captain. This dance captured the essence of the landship. This scene quickly transitioned to Remembering Forgotten Souls skilfully presented by Dancin’ Africa.
This dance artistically reflected the angst of that period.
The next featured troupe was the Louise Woodvine Dance Academy who embodied the spirit of serenity, adorned in their delicate pink ensembles for Peace.
Among the talented dance groups making up the phenomenal cast were Pearl’s Academy of Dance with Inspire. Effective costuming and the use of props ensured the poignant delivery of their message. Elevé Performing Arts Centre’s dance Concede captured the occurrence of a violent battle simply using pieces of cloth to represent their weaponry.
The UWI Dance ensemble ended the first half with a fervent piece called A Reckoning Cometh.
Their stunning red costumes, swift precise movements and strategic lighting were accentuated by the pulsating beat of their accompanying music. This scintillating presentation was awe- inspiring and held the captivated audience spellbound, as their eyes remained glued centre stage.
The second half had a distinctly lighter feel. This segment opened with the BCC Dance.
Ensemble’s Come Leh We Play conjuring child-like abandon as they created an air of nostalgia re-enacting many of the hand games that were a regular part of childhood. Next was Israel Lovell Foundation’s piece which was an apt portrayal of Last Lap. They first appeared donning t-shirts but returned in full Kadooment Day costumes portraying the merriment of that day. This dance was enhanced by the powerful beat of their drummers.
Multifarious Dance Crew told a vivid story using their contemporary style. Opening with the familiar theme song from local program Bajan Bus Stop, they used a plethora of local tracks including popular folk songs, a sprinkling of spouge and classics like Gabby’s Hit It and Jack in their fun number. They kept the audience thoroughly entertained during Do Um For De Kulture as they depicted elements of Barbadiana including simulating both pitching marbles and a spirited game of cricket.
Also appearing in this segment was Powerhouse Studios who performed Spring. Using just two dancers, they were equally impactful. OAN Dance Companyended the evening with the thought provoking The Unfolding.
Voice actors Winston Farrell, Angelo Lascelles, DJ Simmons, and Ayesha Gibson-Gill added cohesion to the package. When the curtain came down on the evening, the audience erupted in appreciation of the magnitude of talent that the island has to offer.