Lodenquai keeping in step
FOR 21-year-old dancer Lindsey Lodenquai, dance is more than a hobby... it's a passion.
Starting with ballet at age six, today she has blossomed into one of the rising stars at the Tony Wilson-led Company Dance Theatre.
While she cannot pinpoint an exact time when dance transitioned from being just a hobby, she admits it has always been fun and a great way to escape the stresses of school and work.
"In all honesty, before I started with Mr Wilson in 2005, I felt as though I was already part of the family. Once I had joined the school, it took me four years to matriculate into The Company, and being a loyalist, it really was the right move for me to make. Apart from that, The Company has maintained an extraordinarily high standard and I feel as though I have a part to play in ensuring the continued progression of the 26-year-old company."
She describes working with Wilson as being a 'method to the madness' scenario. Noting that although you are not always able to recognise his intent at first, it all comes together at some point.
"Mr Wilson has been such a distinctive figure within our dance community. It's hard not to be inspired by him. Sir is the type of teacher who tries to extract every ounce of greatness from his dancers; something I truly admire and respect. There's never a dull a day," said the former Immaculate Conception High School student.
Now a student at the University of the West Indies working on a degree in entertainment and cultural enterprise management, Lodenquai has strong views on the development of the arts including dance in Jamaica, and projects that she will use this to further develop the local creative industries.
"As for our dance scene, I believe it is surviving. We have a far way to go. Overseas, the arts have become a booming industry because people and governments have realised the importance of investing in the sector. It is happening slowly, but as dancers and artists, we have to keep the movement growing through innovation and sound investment in local talents," she said.
Given the opportunity to dance for any international troupe, Lodenquai chooses the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as she sees syngergies in the techniques with The Company.
"For the most part, I have been trained to execute the Graham and Horton techniques. These styles of dance are predominantly used in the Ailey school, which is what I feel I am best suited for. This reason is partly due to the fact that Mr Wilson is a past Ailey dancer, so he has taught us in like fashion."
Retirement is the furthest thing from young Lodenquai's mind and she is adamant she will only stop dancing when she is no longer able to move.
"As time-consuming and frustrating as it can get, I can't definitively see a day where I stop dancing completely. It's hard to be away from it for too long."
— Richard Johnson