Tue | Sep 22, 2020

Company Dance Theatre celebrates 30th season with Umcimbi

Published:Thursday | November 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer
Steven Cornwall in 'Journey', originally choreographed in 2013.
From left: Courtney Payne, Shari Jackson and Leanne Hall in Calabash, originally choreographed in 1999.

Fortified by commitment and embroiled in passion, the Company Dance Theatre celebrates its 30th season of dance this weekend with Umcimbi. Umcimbi is a Zulu word, meaning a gathering or an event.

The company's reputation of staging simultaneously emotive and technically impressive performances over the years is a labour of love. "That love for what we do is what pushes the dancers to show up every night and give their best. Our commitment to dance is how we have survived for 30 seasons," legendary choreographer at the company, Tony Wilson, told The Gleaner.

Sixteen dancers will hit the stage each night, showcasing new works as well as past favourites. The works on show will be from top choreographers: Sade Bully, Shelley-Ann Maxwell, Arsenio Rafael and Wilson. Umcimbi will also remount popular pieces by Wilson and Renee I. McDonald.

For the new pieces, the dancers were challenged to adopt different styles from various choreographers. But the showcase will also maintain a contemporary-dance attitude, hinged by Wilson's signature style.

Many of the dancers on stage this year were trained by Wilson from they were children, and then later invited to join the company. Membership in the company is done by invitation only.

Those interested in becoming part of the company usually start by training with the Tony Wilson School of Modern Dance. From there, he is known to invite those he deems possess potential to take classes with the company, which can sometimes lead to membership. Unicimbi will be at the Little Theatre on Tom Redcom Drive.