Sun | Feb 24, 2019

Such fun at 'The Circus'

Published:Thursday | December 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera/ Senior Gleaner Writer
’Clowning around’ with the latest hip hop and dancehall movers during First Dance Studio’s
Melinda Hewitt performing a solo.
These acrobats had the audience on the edge of their seats.
These 'endangered species' danced their way to freedom with the help of Kayla (centre) and her back up dancers.
Leah Chin (left) and Jordan Buddhu were graceful as they performed a duet.
Artistic directors and, founders, sisters Sheri-Lee Smith (left) and Jody-Marie Hussey, perform a song for the first time in a finale.
A Contortion piece, titled ‘A twisted situation’, performed by Zinzi-Akili Duhaney.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

"Fantastic", "awe-Inspiring" and "excellent" were just a few of the words patrons used to describe First Dance Studios' staging of 'The Circus' this past weekend.

First Dance's sixth annual showcase, staged at the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, brought out nearly 800 patrons over the two shows on Saturday and Sunday, and the reviews have been nothing but spectacular.

"I didn't feel like I was in Jamaica - it was a world-class production," declared one patron, Aileen Stephens, at the end of Sunday's gala show.

Stephens was not alone in her observations. Hard Rock Cafe's Andre Dixon was just as blown away, pointing out that not only was the show great, but "getting children to perform at that level and to come so close to reaching Broadway standards is just amazing!"

Having seen the production in previous years, Dixon said it just keeps getting better. "I'd love to see more of where this could go with the right support," he said.

Each year, the season showcase is geared towards giving students an opportunity to show their talent, provide wholesome family entertainment and, most importantly, raise funds towards building a performing arts centre for western Jamaica.

On Sunday, the audience was treated to a pre-show, with many of the characters of the 'Circus' greeting them upon entry. Clowns blowing up animals-shaped balloons for the children, a mad hatter and an alien abduction were just a few of the sights to behold, making it an experience from the moment guests stepped in.

The dazzling first half of the show included well-choreographed and executed dance numbers, jugglers, acrobats and clowns.

In the second half, patrons were again wowed with fabulous vocal acts, more dance numbers, an aerialist, a magician and the grand finale.

The Gleaner caught up with public relations specialist and hospitality guru Marline Stephenson Dalley, who shared that Montegonians were hungry for quality entertainment and First Dance had delivered on this.

"From the production side, I know it must have been a lot to execute because it was quite a number of elements to pull together. Overall, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I'd love to see where the show goes from here - it has loads of potential."

The creative juices flowed freely from the show's choreographers, Antonio Dennis, Jody-Marie Smith-Hussey, Anthony Gordon and Kelly-Ann Robinson, who produced some of the most eye-catching costumes.

 

SUCCESSFUL THEME

 

Thrilled at the execution and the turnout at the two-day event, co-founder Sheri-Lee Smith said this has been the most successful theme yet in terms of choreography and variety of acts.

"We have definitely seen a steady increase in patrons over the years, with this year being our highest," said Smith.

For the sister duo behind the studio, a performing arts centre for the west is something they see becoming a reality in the near future.

"The more persons become exposed to the arts in western Jamaica and the talent we have, is the more interest being sparked in seeing what we could produce with better facilities," shared Smith.

There is no doubt that the spark has been lit and is about to catch fire.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com