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Dancers to get big boost

By Sade Gardner
Observer writer
gardners@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

MORE than 200 dancers will benefit from free workshops conducted by the esteemed ensemble, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, from August 28 to 30.

The workshops, valued at hundreds of US dollars along with a dance seminar, are being funded and facilitated by the US Embassy in association with local cadre Pliť for the Arts.

According to Marisa Benain, Pliť chair, the workshops fall in line with the mission of her company which aims at developing local dancers to perform at the international level.

“It'll really focus on technique and development,” Benain told the Jamaica Observer.

“If you stay in Jamaica dancing you're not going to do that much. Performing with and taking a class with international dancers, you get a chance to see where you are versus where you want to be. Complexions will be teaching their technique for free, so we're exposing our dancers to different forms in modern, jazz, hip hop and Horton in advanced and intermediate dance classes.”

All classes will be held at the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) studio on Tom Redcam Road in Kingston.

Serving moves and technique are Terk Lewis on August 28 and 30, Clifford Williams on August 29, and co-founder of Complexions Desmond Richardson on August 29 and 30.

Complexions made their debut performance in Jamaica last March and have since conducted various workshops in the island. Benain said the sessions have been a blessing to many dancers.

“With every showcase we have a myriad of emotions follows,” she said.

“All of the dancers are thankful because they see how hard they now need to work to get to that international level. If you go to New York, you'd be spending US$30 per minute to do a class with them so they appreciate it.”

A dance seminar, dubbed Dance Talk JA, will unfold on the August 30 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

This will feature guest speakers Misty Copeland, Desmond Richardson and Patsy Ricketts, all sharing their experiences and expertise based on their individual journeys.

Richards is the first African- American male principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, while Copeland is the first African- American female to achieve the same feat.

Ricketts received the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander in 2014 for her stellar contribution to the performing arts industry.

She has performed with several companies including Dance Theatre of Harlem and NDTC. The activities will culminate with the two-day Pliť gala performance on August 31 and September 1 at The Little Theatre.

The show comprises three segments; a performance by Copeland, Complexions and a segment dubbed Essence of the Island, comprising the University Singers, Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica and 15 of Jamaica's finest dancers including Azariah Jones, Lindsey Lodenquai and Faybian Grizzle.