Arts & Culture

A 'Stella' affair promised

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 31, 2019

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DR MoniKa Lawrence, founder of Stella Maris Dance Ensemble, is promising a memorable experience at this weekend's performances scheduled for Little Theatre in St Andrew.

The occasion, which celebrates the 26th Season of Dance, is slated for Saturday and Sunday. Show times will be 8:00 pm and 5:00 pm, respectively. The season will be under the patronage of Wayne Chen.

“This year, we will have some dynamic choreographers in our midst. We'll have NDTC's [National Dance Theatre Company] founding member/choreographer Bert Rose; Stella Maris's Renee McDonald; Dr Kemal Nance, artistic director of Nance Dance Collective in the US; and Tony Wilson, artistic director of The Company... And we're not only showcasing dancers, we will also have singing from the Jamaica Youth Chorale,” she told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

According to Lawrence, four new works will be premiered. Rose will be collaborating with her on Apostolic, which views three moments in religious history: BC, AD and Heavenly.

McDonald will premiere Dauntless, Wilson will showcase Patchwork. The Nance Dance Collective, which has been performing with the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble for the past four years, will unveil Red.

The group's four male dancers is set to perform with Stella Maris's principals Gavin Hart, Meisha Harris, Roxanne Corniffe, Kai Wiggan, and Ashleigh Wilson.

The Jamaica Youth Chorale will perform on both shows and accompany the ensemble, alongside drummers Calvin Mitchell and Supersad, in Lawrence's seminal work African Nite, with lead dancers Andre Hinds and Karen Seymour-Johnson.

(In)between, by guest artiste Danzil Thompson- Stout from the United States, will also be on show.

“Stella is unique...and all the works are based on our uniquness. So we will be bringing a fierceness, dynamism, and a collaborative effort to the stage,” said Lawrence.

“So this weekend patrons will be getting three shows in one...music, foreign artistes, and local artistes.”

Wendi Hoo Fatt, associate director of the Stella Maris ensemble, said: “This season promises to be a feast of music and dance in motion, as we continue our quest to empower our young people through the medium of the performing arts.”

Tomorrow, the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble will host 500 children from homes of safety, free of cost. In addition, the ensemble has extended an invitation to students studying theatre arts at the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) level from Kingston and Mandeville.


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