'Movements' puts best foot forward
Members of the Movement Dance Company of Jamaica performing a piece titled Father Father. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

MOVEMENTS Dance Company of Jamaica marked its 40th anniversary with six signature pieces at the Little Theatre in St Andrew on Sunday evening.

Co-founder and artistic director of the dance company, Monica Campbell-McFarlane said the occasion was an unforgettable one.

"The topics that we spoke to about the need for love and cohesion have fitted well in the 60th Independence celebrations," she told the Jamaica Observer. "It was a full house. Guests were just pleasantly surprised at the style and strength of the performers. There were many comments about the flexibility and the style and strength of the pieces. People were really pleasantly surprised and commented on how the young people have continued to carry on the tradition of the group."

The pieces performed comprised: Father Father and The Wrath of God by Christopher Huggins; Anointing, Grace, and Searchlight by Campbell-McFarlane; and Pathways by Patrick Johnson.

The artistic director said over the four decades of the group's existence it has remained reputable for excellence.

"Up to the point where we founded Movements there was only one company that managed to sustain itself and make its mark — and that was NDTC [National Dance Theatre Company]. That wasn't acceptable because so many people wanted to dance and be a part of a company; that was the motivation that led to the formation. We started having seasons almost every year until it was narrowed down to the main anniversary, which is where we're at now," she shared.

"We have had tremendous success locally, performing at various states, England, and the Caribbean — and the work of Movements has been very well received. The last overseas event we did was Carifesta. Even in the midst of COVID, we responded to fund-raising efforts for the people in Africa that were being affected by COVID…the show was called 'Africa Rise' and ourselves along with one of the Marleys were the only ones representing Jamaica," she continued.

She further stated that the 40th anniversary celebration was a perfect way for the founders to see each other.

"The founders came together after not seeing each other for a very long time. It was a lovely reunion," said Campbell-McFarlane.

The occasion also saw violinist Jon Williams and singer Jermaine Gordon in performance.

Movements was founded in 1981 by four former members of the defunct Eddie Thomas Company. They are Campbell-McFarlane, Patricia Grant-Heron, Michelle Tappin-Lee, and Denise Desnoes.

A piece dubbed Searchlight by Movements Dance Company of Jamaica co-founder Monica Campbell-McFarlane.
Jade Arscott and Osyel Herrera in a piece titled Pathways, created by Patrick Johnson
Royane Green in a piece titled Grace.
A dramatic piece titled Wrath of God, created by Christopher Huggins. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)
A piece dubbed Anointing
Jade Arscott and Osyel Herrera in Pathways
Violinist Jon Williams
Singer Jermaine Gordon
Kediesha Perry

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