By Simone Tull
Creativity and originality are at the bedrock of the annual multi-disciplinary Bridgetown International Arts Festival (BIAF). With participants being drawn from an open call, it provides creatives with a much-needed forum to promote their work. What makes this showcase unique is it creates a carefully curated space by artistes for artistes. This platform not only provides both seasoned and emerging creatives with an avenue to display their talent, but also provides an opportunity for them to benefit financially through the pop-up shops which are staged at the events.
Dance was the centrepiece when the 4th edition of the Festival began on Saturday night at the Combermere School hall. Billed as Present-Future Perfect Dance, the audience enjoyed a series of pieces by some of the island’s premier dancers and choreographers.
The cast spanned across varying age groups, but the common denominator was the dynamic energy they all brought to the stage. Each ensemble crafted their stories through their agile movements as they incorporated various styles of dance. Among those featured were Of Another Nature (O. A. N) Dance Company and the BCC Dance Ensemble under the artistic direction of Olivia Hall.
Organiser Andrea King told Barbados TODAY, “Olivia Hall’s conceptualization was epic, telling as it did the story of Fefe, who bridges her past and present with the help of the community. The audience enjoyed the performances of the various groups and the exciting finish in which all the participating groups lined the corridors of the Combermere school hall and applauded each other.”
Other featured dance troupes were 1 Movement with choreographers Asha Weekes and Damon Boucher, Megghan Michaels and Vibe 25, Carolyn Brathwaite and Bajans in Movement, Pinelands Creative Workshop with Shelly Durant-Forde and the ever-popular award-winning Multifarious Dance Group with their choreographer Jamal Dawe.
Among the patrons who were entertained by the showcase was Senator Dr Shantal Munro-Knight, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture. When the dance spectacle was complete, attendees mingled in the courtyard as they enjoyed the liming session which took place.
The festival will climax with Music is Life on Saturday, March 25, starting from 1 p.m. at the Barbados Museum, Dalkeith, St. Michael. The lineup will feature Tamwah & Flowers and Kattimoni from Australia; from Trinidad: Rellon Brown and the Dominant Seventh Calypso Jazz band; from Boston, percussionist Reynaliz Herrera who plays a bicycle, Gavin and Chucky from Guyana.
The Barbadian contingent includes the Kweku Jelani Ensemble, The Tristan Haynes Group, HerRe (pronounced hurr-i), Kellan Richards and the Coast Line Crew, Donna-Lisa Yearwood, Andrae Christie and Empress Roli. The steel orchestras from St. Leonard’s Boys and the Alleyne School will be making an appearance as well.