Much movement at Meraki

Much movement at Meraki

Observer senior reporter

Friday, November 22, 2019

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THE local dance community displayed a sense of community last Sunday as five of the country's major companies came out for a cause.

The cause was veteran dancer and choreographer Tony Wilson and the event was Meraki, staged to raise funds for Wilson's medical expenses. He suffered a stroke in June this year and his medical bills have been mounting ever since. For this, Wilson's own The Company Dance Theatre (CDT); the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC); Dance Theatre Xaymaca (DTX); L'Acadco; and the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble, all pulled their talents together to stage a memorable evening of dance.

The programme saw the works of the guest companies skilfully interwoven with those of The Company to produce a seamless tapestry of movement. All the works chosen by Wilson's troupe were choreographed by him and reflected his artistic style and his background with the Horton and Graham dance techniques. The Company is never one to disappoint and the well-trained cadre of dancers were brilliant in dance works such as Colours, which brilliantly combines dancers from both the senior and junior divisions of the troupe.

The other works showcased on Sunday, Prisms, Twilight and Calabash, which included some of the troupe's alumni, again showed the breath and depth of the dance talent which exists locally as the dancers brought these works to life with such precision. The senior members of the ranks including Lindsey Lodenquai, Steven Cornwall, Shari Jackson and Gabrielle Miller truly lead the charge from the front.

Wilson was truly pleased with the effort and the performance.

“The show was good and everyone looked good,” he told the Jamaica Observer's Splash.

The guest performers did not disappoint.

Ballet mistress at the NDTC Kerry-Ann Henry gives a show whenever she steps on stage and on Sunday she lived up to her billing. Performing the moving solo Weeping Widow, choreographed by Wilson, Henry embodied her character and earned the applause she received. The other work that pleased the audience was DTX's Chains, choreographed by Kameica Reid. Performed by a strong sextet of dancers, this work which speaks to the horrors of slavery and set to Sam Cooke's iconic civil rights anthem A Change is Gonna Come, was strong and conveyed this well-told story but with a freshness and sense of purpose. This company has been investing in training its dancers and that is beginning to reap dividends.

L'Antoinette Stines' Satta is one of the signature pieces of her troupe L'Acadco. Choreographed in 1985 this work never gets old. It's celebration of the primordial woman against the solid beat of Third World's cover of the Abysinians' Satta Massagana was as new and exciting as always.

Patchwork, choreographed by Wilson in 2014 for the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble, was their contribution to the programme. That company which just executed its season of dance were in fighting form as they returned the work to his benefit.

The Company was indeed pleased with the efforts on Sunday, noting that the support of everyone was highly appreciated.

“All the dancers did such a great job, and for the audience, and Mr Wilson especially, when the CDT alumni came out and then the guest performers joined the Company Dance Theatre to perform the Calabash finale it was just such a moving surprise. The outpouring of love that Mr Wilson has received, during this time has been phenomenal and we really want to thank everybody who has contributed in any way towards his recovery efforts,” said dancer, Gabrielle Miller.

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