‘L’Antoinette’s Dream’ shown through good lighting
Artistic director L'Antoinette Stines, of L'Acadco: Caribbean Dance Force, had a 'dream' for their 2016 season of dance.
The dream was to combine her company, with other dancers, drummers, choreographers and storytellers, to produce a dream season. And so it was, in choreography and dance. Aptly, the venture was called L'Antoinette's Dream.
Saturday night's dream unfolded through 10 dances, with a number of them being choreographed for the 2016 season. And with the help of set, appropriate costumes, and excellent use of lights, the combined dancers and choreographers unveiled dreams on a variety of topics. Interestingly, no song about dreams made the cut.
It was the high-energy African dance, Amathagazello, revived by former L'Acadco dancer Clara Reyes, that got the proceedings at the Philip Sherlock Centre, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, going. The St Martin-based choreographer had the dream group of dancers moving from one formation to the next with ease and clarity. In one accord, gyrating and elongating to the live music produced by Drum Xplosion, they captured the full attention of the full house.
WORLD PREMIER DANCE
National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) Marlon Simms' choreographed Letting Go was next. And soloist Oraine Frater was perpetual motion as he executed the 2016 world premier dance with precision and feeling. As if to reinforce entrapment, the dance began upstage left in circular lighting that gradually gave way to a low-intensity general wash.
Lighting was used effectively in creating the dream in the first of six of Stines' choreography. First choreographed for the 2014 season, the excerpt from Is It Enough? saw dancers Orville McFarlane and Karen McLean illustrating the pain and suffering of slaves as they questioned the complacency of modern descendants. "Our freedom was paid by the blood of my mother", the spoken words were repeated, while the dancers, wearing broken chains, moved accordingly.
Stines, with dancers from the various companies, remounted the 2013 Quilted Memories, 2010 Bruck It Up, and the 1990 Tribulation. All were clinically executed. But in Tribulation lies intrigue. The dance for a soloist was performed by Rema Williams. Williams's movements and empathy with her unfortunate character belied the fact that she has not performed the dance for 26 years.
The fine show ended with the most colourful and vibrant 2013 Abuzuike.
Other choreographers who helped to fulfill L'Antoinette's Dream, were Francesco Ventriglia with Blacks, a reflection of a dancer's training. It was well choreographed and justly performed by Mariana Samuda and Keenan Fletcher. And the closing dance for segment two, Contagion, was choreographed by L'Acadco's Orville McFarlane.
Karen Harriott, Webster McDonald, Oraine Meikle, and Fabian Thomas were the storytellers of L'Antoinette's Dream. Together, through spoken words, they provided the link between the dances and the dream concept, as well as provided explanation and information on the dream. However, whereas their role was relevant, they could have been more creatively interwoven into the production. Nonetheless, the show was quite entertaining and informative. But alas, it is a dream that Stines says she will not be repeating any time soon.