Dancing into the future

DTX prepares for season 24

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, October 25, 2019

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For the first time in its 24-year history, Dance Theatre Xaymaca (DTX) conducted public auditions to glean a stronger cohort for its annual season of dance, which is set for the Little Theatre in St Andrew this Saturday and Sunday. This scouting for new talent has paid rich dividends, as the company now boasts a strong troupe, not only for this year, but also as it moves into preparations for its silver anniversary next year and beyond.

Associate artistic director Natalie Gallimore told the Jamaica Observer's Splash that as a result of this move the company was not only able to focus on preparations for the season, but was also able to inject a strong training component.

“What we have now is a really good, strong crop of dancers. This is really something we have thought about over the years but it is now coming into full bloom. The audition affords us an opportunity to look to the future. Because of this the tedious rehearsal process was a breeze this year, unlike in the past. This current crop of dancers truly worked hard and we will definitely see the results onstage this weekend.”

The repertoire selected for performance this weekend represents a wide cross-section of styles and genres and incorporates new works, as well as number of remounts. DTX has also drawn on a number of the country's choreographers to set works, on this crop of dancers. The choreographers this year include Gallimore, Orrett Beckford, Onaje, Kameca Reid, Michael Holgate as well as artistic director Barbara McDaniel.

“Our dancers will perform everything from folk to dancehall and modern contemporary to gospel,” said Gallimore.

“I strongly believe dancehall is our strongest suit. DTX was the first company to put stylised dancehall on stage. This was a time when it was not the thing to do. So we were able to grab hold of that niche from very early. Now it is all over the stage, all over the world. We are proud to have been the standard-bearers in that respect and so continue to uphold that tradition. But that certainly does not stop us from presenting dance works in various other styles. Among our new works this season are Barbara McDaniel's gospel piece In This Place; Onaje is premièring Taino Memoirs and Orrett Beckford is doing Tempest. The remounts include my duet Duakhamba and Change by Kameca Reid,” Gallimore noted.

The full complement of dancers this year number 20, with the dancers ranging from age 18 years and older.

Dance Theatre Xaymaca was founded by McDaniel, who is also artistic director for the Wolmer's Dance Troupe. The company came out of the need to absorb the older dancers once they had moved on from the Wolmer's troupe.


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