Wolmer's Dance Troupe goes beyond
Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
A rainy afternoon was no deterrent to the large turnout at Little Theatre, Tom Redcam Avenue, St Andrew, last Saturday. Their mission was to support the Wolmer's Dance Troupe which, in spite of dancing through its own raindrops of the chikungunya virus, managed to garner a large unit and produce an entertaining show.
Saturday's show was the second in the troupe's 24th season of dance, and the Barbara McDaniel-led company displayed outstanding transitions from one formation to the next, creative body tapestry, lovely exploration of space, good choice for props and set, as well as intriguing costume choices.
Held under the thought-stimulating theme, 'Beyond', the programme started with the playing of Jamaica's National Anthem and a presentation, before the dance dosage was administered.
The Difference, choreographed by McDaniel and two of the season's guest choreographers, Nicholas McPherson and Orrette Beckford, began the therapeutic journey. It was choreographed to different genres of uptempo music and divided into four movements according to the categories of dancers - tiny tots, juniors, intermediates, and seniors.
The dancers were costumed in cheerful-looking materials and colours. Moving in unison, each group transmitted infectious energy to the very vociferous audience.
It was the movement showcasing juniors and intermediates that triggered the avalanche of great transitional formations and set the tone for upcoming pieces. This was especially evident in guest choreographer Stephanie Smith's My Battle Within. The battle is explained as "my soul is an ongoing battle of good vs evil that sometimes becomes so deafening that I might just lose my mind".
My Battle Within began with a selected group of dancers moving on their knees in a diagonal path from downstage right to centre, before Smith had her black-and-white clad costumed dancers exploring various levels and forms. A few, though, were risky.
McDaniel's My Space was also well choreographed and ably executed by five dancers - Kaylee Reynolds, Joshua Craige, Jade Amiel, Kimberly Stewart, and Brittany Bryan. With the aid of a set taken on by the dancers in character, and two windows lowered by the stage crew, a dining area was quickly established. The set allowed the dancers to not only show the context of their space, but also explore the levels created by it.
McDaniel, principal choreographer for the show, produced other fine pieces such as the high-energy gospel dance Glorious Days, Is It Real (choreographed to Bob Marley and The Wailers' War) and Search, danced by the promising Lauren Boothe.
However, McDaniel may have faltered somewhat with her choreography of Katy Perry's Roar, and choice of music for the tiny tots in the final dance, Trapped - In a World of Their Own.
However, redemption may have come when McDaniel and Loran V combined in designing the costumes for the closing dance. They chose white pants and blouses, along with vests in three colours and white caps.
The colours were not the expected for a piece choreographed to dancehall music.
Adding to the entertainment value of the show was Lightning Drummer. The group comprised young drummers who displayed great skills and style on their djembe drums. Ayana Graham completed the list of guest choreographers.