Writer/Dancer Nicole Bain
Nicole Bain gives us her critique on the latest latest performance of the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble
Last weekend, the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble presented its 17th season of dance in dedication to the memory of former Artistic Director of the NDTC, the late Professor the Hon. Rex Nettleford. It featured two of his works and four others choreographed by Abeldo 'Tokie' Gonzales and Dr. Monika Lawrence, Artistic Director of Stella Maris; both were former dancers with the NDTC. The evening opened with “Dis Poem”, choreographed in 1989 by Nettleford and remounted by D’Roi Rose. In the first section the dancers, clad in light grey sweat suits with red, green and gold stripes emblazoned across their chests, moved militantly to the spoken word of Mutabaruka.
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They danced the frustrations of a race of people denied the right to exist freely, effectively brought across by Nettleford’s use of stark, clipped movement, and the dancers’ emotiveness. In the second section, soloist Gavin Hart gave a solid and committed performance. The piece ended with a hopeful final movement which was strong, jubilant and fluid, marred only by the occasional overdone facial expression from one or two of the performers.
Next up was the new work ‘Supernova’ by Abeldo ‘Tokie’ Gonzales. This was an ambitious number in concept but fell somewhat short in execution. The piece opened with an athletic solo, danced brilliantly by Kamar Tucker. However the strong build up was quickly followed by a visually overwhelming mass of dancers moving through the space and struggling to keep up with the pace of the choreography. When working with a large group, clean lines, synchronicity and attention to the nuances of the music are a must for effective communication, and unfortunately in this piece these elements needed refining. However there were some spectacular moments, such as the forming of a human trampoline which released Mr Tucker into the air like an exploding star - the supernova. Also interesting was the choreographer’s melding of gymnastics, contemporary movement and break dancing.
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