More than Con­querors, a min­istry of move­ment

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Mar­cia Rowe Gleaner Writer en­ter­tain­ment@glean­erjm.com

WITH OVER 70 per cent of the dances chore­ographed to gospel mu­sic, the clos­ing con­cert for Move­ments Dance Com­pany of Ja­maica’s 35th an­niver­sary sea­son, which re­cently con­cluded un­der the theme, ‘More than Con­querors’, was more than just a dance show, it was a min­istry.

Colour­ful light­ing, well de­signed cos­tumes and ap­pro­pri­ate set all came to­gether well to en­hance the works of artis­tic di­rec­tor Mon­ica Camp­bell-McFar­lane, Christo­pher Hug­gins and Patrick Johnson. All el­e­ments were nicely pack­aged and de­liv­ered with pre­ci­sion, uni­son and high en­ergy by the dance ensem­ble.

When the cur­tains of The Lit­tle The­atre opened, the first of seven, and Camp­bell-McFar­lane’s four dances, got the pro­gramme go­ing. Cos­tumed in yel­low and green, the dancers de­lighted the au­di­ence with an en­ter­tain­ing per­for­mance of the 2016 chore­ographed ‘Liv Light’. Al­ways mov­ing as one body, they rocked, reached and stepped to the mu­sic of Chronixx.

HIGH ON SPEC­TA­CLE

But it was Camp­bell-McFar­lane’s 2012 chore­og­ra­phy, ‘Bread of Life’, that started the gospel rain. Not only was the dance en­gag­ing, but it was high on spec­ta­cle. A huge moon hung over the stage, a blue lit cy­clo­rama and dancers cos­tumed in white re­in­forced the heav­enly theme. But while the chore­og­ra­phy was cre­atively ex­e­cuted, it was marred some­what by over-emot­ing from the dancers.

The artis­tic di­rec­tor’s chore­ographed ‘Search­light’ (2015) and her 2016-pre­miered ‘In the Gar­den’ also re­flected the gospel theme. Again, the dancers moved in uni­son with con­fi­dence. In ‘Search­light’, their colour­ful cos­tumes along with fit­ting light­ing, pro­vided the spec­ta­cle. Not so for ‘In the Gar­den’, where cos­tume de­sign­ers, Nor­man Rus­sell and Ar­lene Richards, went for pe­riod cos­tumes, and Camp­bell-McFar­lane’s choice of a tree branch to sym­bol­ise the gar­den. It was left up to the per­form­ers to show the “... chal­lenges and tri­umph of Geth­se­mane”, and they did so con­vinc­ingly.

EARTH SHATTERING

Guest chore­og­ra­pher Hug­gins’ earth shattering 2016 ‘Fa­ther, Fa­ther’ lived up to its billing. The fast-paced dance saw the per­form­ers wear­ing full brown in per­pet­ual mo­tion. They moved in hor­i­zon­tal, ver­ti­cal, di­ag­o­nal and fi­nally con­clud­ing in a straight line across the down stage ar­eas.

The Amer­i­can 2011 ‘Wrath of God’ was the cur­tain closer. It, too, was pow­er­ful in pat­terns, riv­et­ing in ex­e­cu­tion, and sober­ing in the black de­signed cos­tumes.

Johnson’s 2001 ‘Path­way’ was a de­vi­a­tion from the gospel. It was also not just a dance, it was a di­a­logue in shapes and beau­ti­ful body ex­ten­sions. The con­ver­sa­tion was timely ex­e­cuted, too, by the two dancers, a male and a fe­male. Wear­ing uni­tards of the same shades, they moved in and out of for­ma­tions with ease and grace. And when they ended their dis­play of spa­tial ex­plo­ration, the au­di­ence showed their ap­proval with thun­der­ous ap­plause.

Over­all, the show was a pleas­ant af­fair and was de­void of the cus­tom­ary ex­ces­sive screams from rel­a­tives and friends of the dancers.

PHO­TOS BY MAR­CIA ROWE

Pathways, chore­ographed by Patrick Johnson.

Bread of Life, chore­ographed by Mon­ica Camp­bell-McFar­lane.

Search­light, chore­ographed by Mon­ica Camp­bel­lMcFar­lane.

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