Esor out of step

Richard Johnson

Tuesday, October 16, 2012    

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The just-concluded season by the Esor Dance Ensemble was a hard watch.

On the night the Jamaica Observer attended, the Little Theatre in St Andrew was overrun with teenagers who not only chatted and screamed throughout the three-hour performance, but constantly walked in and out of the theatre during the performances, creating a major distraction.

On stage, the eight-year old company tried to present a Jamaica 50-inspired repertoire under the theme 'Dance Through History'.

Artistic Director Sandra Rose and her team put together a jaw-dropping 34 pieces spread across nine sub-themes. That was just the start of the not-so-impressive evening.

The members of Esor range from tots, referred to as Reachers, to a semi-professional stage known as Excel. It is clear that in order to give everyone their moment to shine, the company had to stage as many dances as it did. Some of these, however, should have stayed in the studio and mounted at a later date.

One could not escape the cute factor with the tots as they went through their paces. The piece, Hard Life, is a gem and brought a smile to one's face.

There were also genuine efforts at choreography and effective storytelling through dance as displayed by the Excel group.

Out Into The Distance, the lines, shapes and strong ending to Fusion, the Kumina-inspired Ritual and the powerful Jah Leadeth with its dramatic entry,all from Excel deserve commendation.

However, in-between, is where the problem lies. Esor's Intermediate group is large and divided into three groups — Soarers, Optimistic A and Optimistic B.

While there were pieces which showed promise — Moralities, That Man! and London 2012 — the majority seemed to have been a bunch of steps put together.

The night's closing segment, Dancehall Dash Out, was a hit with the teens. Its use of contemporary choreography and music made it that more appealing to this demographic. However, one could not help overhear the concerns of older patrons who queried the choices made by the choreographers knowing that the audience would include children.

Esor is still a young company and has room to grow. Effort will have to be made by the choreographers to tell stronger stories through dance and make it more entertaining for a wider audience.

-- Richard Johnson





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