Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
In its 31st anniversary season of dance, Movements Dance Company of Jamaica paid tribute to Jamaica's 50th. On Saturday evening, the second performance of the season saw some moments of greatness. There was great use of lights and effects, lovely and risqué costumes, and wonderful but edgy choreography.
'Excerpt from Chosen (2001)', choreographed by Monica Campbell McFarlane, the company's artistic director, included well-designed costumes, but the choreography was flat, except at the ending. The concert started slowly.
'Bread of Life', also choreographed by Campbell McFarlane, was second on the programme. It will be remembered for its great set, which included a bright moon suspended over the stage, and the use of lights to capture the mood of the dance. Arlene Richards' long white gowns worked well.
But Campbell McFarlane gave a better account of herself and lifted the standard of the show with the choreography she produced in the 1993 'Flashback'.
Told in approximately four motifs, the intriguing dance drama tells the story of a married man who gave up the comfort of his home and his good health for a fling in a club. The result: he became infected with AIDS.
Dancer, Patrick Johnson, the AIDS victim, was passionate and believable, and so was his wife, Clara Kawha.
The strength of the dance was complemented by Norman Russell's vibrant costumes for the club scene and sombre black for the death scene. All were very effective.
Russell was also credited for the very useful backdrop splashed in red and a wooden box placed upstage right, which was painted in the same manner and colour as the backdrop.
With some lovely extensions from dancers Daryl Caballero and Jade Arscott, Patrick Johnson's 'Pathways' will not soon be forgotten.
The choreographer's edgy movements held the full attention of the Little Theatre on Tom Redcam Drive throughout.
However, it is accurate to say that the celebration of Movements Dance Company's 31 years of maturity really began with 'Metamorphosis', which comes from the company's 2007 season.
The dance, inspired by the book of the same name, was choreographed by Narziso Medina and remounted by Lazaro Caballero.
With great interpretation, excellent body control, and fantastic timing from dancers Kevin Hibbert, Daryl and Lazaro Caballero, the dance explores the evolution of the species.
Jean Michelle Jarre's music and Norman Russell's costumes added to the creative value of the dance.
'Rendering' from the 2005 season, came after the intermission. According to the programme note, choreographer Max Luna III was "inspired by the different tribes that live in the Northern mountains of the Philippines". But with its music and movements it could easily be a great tribute to Jamaicans of Indian descent.
'Rendering' began with tableaux in silhouette. Wearing earth colours Ali Baba-influenced designs, there was much emphasis on flexing the feet and the arms, as well as some beautiful formations.
Next, there was a wonderful performance of 'Water Melon Man' by saxophonist Warren Harris. He was accompanied on keyboard by Andrés López.
While the dances after the intermission were brilliant, the evening belonged to international choreographer, Christopher Huggins, with his dance 'The Wrath of God'.
In the first motif, God appeared in white, the people subsequently appeared in black, with only their faces and arms uncovered. As the dance progressed, the fury of God was unleashed, demonstrated in the pace at which the dancers moved and in their swift entrances and exits. Huggins wanted to capture the darkness of sin, and so he did. And what a fitting ending it was for a show that also had religion as its subtext.