Tue | Aug 21, 2018

Feeling the rhythm: Deaf dance festival a beauty to behold

Published:Sunday | May 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
St Aloysius Primary School performing 'Prayer of Desperation'.
A performer from the Danny Williams School for the Deaf performing 'Rhythmic Roots' at the JCDC Deaf Dance Competition at the Little Theatre on Thursday.
Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf, out of St James, performing 'Afro Vibes'.
The Abilities Foundation performing 'Mek Wi Frolic'.
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The most beautiful thing for a dancer is to hear the beat. But how can you move to the rhythm when you are hearing-impaired? On Thursday, that could not stop the competitors in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) Deaf Dance Competition from dancing. Even though the participants are hearing-impaired, their passion and skill remain unfettered.

About 80 children and adults from various schools across the island competed for top honours in the festival, with each rendition. Their responses to the rhythm and the notes were beautiful and on point and even more so the flawless way in which the participants kept track of the beats.

The inspiring event featured dance items that ranged from creative folk to praise to modern contemporary and popular dance. The dancers dazzled as they commanded the stage and gave spirited performances for each rendition.

 

Exciting performances

 

The audience was left in awe at the exciting performances from the participants as they glided effortlessly across the stage led by the pulsating musical beats they were feeling in their feet.

While the younger performers impressed, some of the evening's most memorable pieces came from the senior category. With well-choreographed and beautiful costumes, students from The Abilities Foundation delighted the audience with their highly energised piece Meck Wi Frolic and their efforts paid off with a trophy for the best performance in the creative folk category. The students also won in the senior duet section with their piece I Am Not Alone.

Afro Vibes, which was performed by the Caribbean Christian School for the Deaf took the audience down memory lane with their exhilarating renditions of certain ethnic traditions.

The dancers' spirited movements were further complemented by their creative costumes. The school also won an award in the modern contemporary category for their performance dubbed 'Out Cry'

Other creditable performances came from the St Christopher's School for the Deaf, the Port Antonio Unit for the Deaf the and the Danny Williams School for the Deaf, which won for best overall junior performance for their piece titled Rhythmic Roots.

The Port Antonio Unit for the Deaf received the best overall performance in the intermediate category for their piece Boys Just Having Fun while The Abilities Foundation won for best overall performance in the adult section for Jolification Time.

The St Christopher's School for the Deaf also won for best overall drama/skit for their performance dubbed Walk Away.

In addition to the invaluable experience and talent development offered by the competition, the performers also received attractive prizes, including cash incentives, trophies, and gift packages courtesy of the CHASE Fund and the Digicel Foundation.

The JCDC's Director of Marketing and Public Relations Stephen Davidson said that the Deaf Dance Competition is an annual favourite on the overall performing arts national finals calendar. "The competition showcased the cultural strides being made by the deaf community through dance and the wholesome family entertainment that the JCDC is known for," he said.

Organised by the JCDC, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, Deaf Dance is part of the weeklong celebration in dance, dubbed Dance Week, included in the National Finals of the Festival of the Performing Arts.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com