Mon | Nov 20, 2017

Stella Maris dance ensemble's 24th season now open​

Published:Sunday | November 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Principal Dancer Gavin Hart with Ensemble in Potter by Dr MoniKa Lawrence
Principal dancer Monique Spence with Stella Maris Dance Ensemble in 'Selah' choreographed by Dr Monika Lawrence.
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The Stella Maris Dance Ensemble's 24th Season of Dance opened yesterday at the Little Theatre.

The season promises to be a programme of various movements to excite, stimulate, and satisfy and will showcase a wide range of dance styles aimed at bringing several social issues to life.

Founder Dr Monika Lawrence said, "there will be something for everyone."

"This Season continues our quest to explore Caribbean aesthetics through movement by highlighting, through choreography, the regional stories. In fact, storytelling is a strong part of our composition," said Lawrence, who is also artistic director for the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble.

According to Lawrence, the ensemble explores not just the nation's history, but our contemporary lividity as shown in Liza, a comedic dance drama and favourite among patrons. Liza, features the principal dancers of the ensemble: Monique Spence, Wendi Hoo Fatt, Karen Seymour, Roxanne Cornieffe, Gavin Hart, Jamal Wakeling, and Andre Hinds.

Lawrence noted that the ensemble would also explore nature and its elements as can be seen in the premiere of Baka Beyond, featuring Atira Robinson on the arial.

"Our religious affirmation is evident in Where is Maria? This dance looks at women's issues through the life of the blessed Virgin Mary, which I will choreograph," Lawrence continued.

"This year, Stella will again be collaborating with choreographer Dr Kemal Nance from the US. His new work, Manifesta, is a reaction to an active and resurging racism in America. It represents Nance's attempt to 'write' a new reality that calls on an imagined solidarity among black people all over the world," said Lawrence.

Nance's company, The Berry & Nance Dance Project, will also be sharing the stage this year with Stella in Manifesta. This collaboration is inspiring for both companies as his three principal dancers - Cristian Barreto-Avila, Julian Darden and Danzel Thompson-Stout - will be performing his work, in addition to local items.

The world-renowned 'H' Patten, with connections to Africa and London, will showcase Gye Nyame, an energetic African rhythmic dance. Stella Maris Dance Ensemble's ballet master and dancer extraordinaire Abeldo 'Tokie' Gonzales, will be premiering two new works: Exchange and Ode to Nina.

The Stella Maris Dance Ensemble's season of dance continues to be a family filled package, and patrons are encouraged to attend and celebrate. Tonight's show - under the patronage of Mr and Mrs Wayne Chen - is set to begin at 5 p.m.