Fri | Dec 14, 2018

The Company Dance Theatre celebrates with Umcimbi

Published:Tuesday | November 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarcia Rowe/Gleaner Writer
‘Calabash’, choreographed by Tony Wilson at Saturday’s showcase.
‘Dimensions’, choreographed by Sade Bully and performed by Courtney Payne (left) and Steven Cornwall.
‘Journey’, choreographed by Tony Wilson.
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Provocative costumes, graceful lines and powerful extensions encapsulated The Company Dance Theatre (CDT) 30th Season of Dance.

Aptly themed 'Umcimbi Celebration', one of the founding members, Tony Henry, noted in the programme - "30 years is no small feat". But the gathering on Saturday was a tad too small for the magnitude of the talents on display.

The 2013 choreography - Journey, by the company's artistic director, Tony Wilson, opened the evening. In this piece, Wilson had the full company of dancers moving with ease and finesse across the stage of the Little Theatre, in an engaging ballet piece that was strong on entrances and exploration of space.

Other pieces choreographed by Wilson were Blood at the Root (2018) and Calabash (1999), the latter being the closing dance. It was a joyful piece, best described as a montage of dance movements depicting what appeared to be different genres of praise movements. Danced to the Lion King soundtrack, each set of movements was reinforced by costumes changes.

Without a doubt, the premier of Blood at the Root, danced by Lindsey Lodenquai, was one of the strongest pieces of the evening. Three hanging ropes with a noose at each end reinforced the lyrics of Nina Simone's song. Lodenquai gave a great performance as well.

In total, four dances premiered - Shelly Maxwell's As yet Untitled, was another one. By way of explaining the title of her piece, Maxwell said that she was so inspired by the Phillip Glass music that she "wanted to have the piece speak to the audience in such away that they would be inclined to create their own title". She also hoped that by doing so, "the work will then go on to have many relationships with people".

To acheive this, in an innovative move, the audience was asked to submit a title after the piece. The winning title was Emerge, and a fitting one too, as the dance held the audience spellbound with dancers emerging in and out of darkness and light. The well-thought-out costumes of red aided the magical spell.

Arsenio Rafael's choreography In/Separable and Sade Bully's Dimensions completed the list of premiered pieces. Both were beautifully choreographed and justly executed. In/separable was quite moving,and with the edgy-costumed Dimensions with its powerful ending, was a tribute to the late Dexter 3D Pottinger.

Completing the line-up was Renee McDonald's One80 (2016). In comparison to the other dances, it was the shortest item at three minutes in length. "It is like a cracker refreshing the pallet between tasting," McDonald told The Gleaner. And soloist Courtney Payne made it feel that way.

Overall, CDT Saturday's show was more than a celebration; it was a show of the coming of age for the company.