There is no doubt there is an array of talent in Barbados, and this week it was more than evident during the National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts (NIFCA) Finals. On Monday night, the dancers had their moment before the judges, performing to a packed audience at Frank Collymore Hall, under the theme Mind, Body And Soul. All going for gold, each performer stamped their authority on stage performing for the very appreciative audience, and addressing everyday realities and very prominent issues. Each performance told its own story, some with greater clarity than others, but all with equal passion. Of the 14 dance pieces on the night, most of which were modern-styled, the one that stood out and deserves all kudos was the piece Black Lives Matter, performed by the award-winning groupDancin Africa, and choreographed by the ever-talented and award-winning Aisha Comissiong.
Dancin Africa in Black Lives Matter.
The dance addressed the many killings of African Americans in the United States of late, as well as other Blacks in Barbados and across the world over the years. Whether an expert on dance or not, this piece was easy b to understand, feel and appreciate, given that its story definitely tugged at the heartstrings of many. Much kudos must go to the choreographer and her team for addressing such an issue and expertly depicting it onstage. It was indeed impressive. This piece could easily achieve a gold award, and it would be a shock if it does not.
Another noteworthy performance was Trapped Differences, performed by Justin Poleon. This piece, inspired by Didi Winston, was dedicated to the LGBT community. It was a very passionate and well-executed piece that addressed another current issue. However, what seemed to be missing from this dance final were more African-themed dances. This night featured all but one African-themed dance, a wonderful and expertly executed piece by Zhane Padmore. Perhaps there could have been more.
Aisha choreographed Zhane’s piece I Am. They both should go ahead and take a bow.
Also performing were Mark Burgess and Caroline Mayers, ACE Dance Centre, Praise Academy Of Dance, Salsa Caribe, Justin Poleon and Penhyo Academy Of Dance. Praise Academy Of Dance. Salsa Caribe Dancers. Also onstage last night were six music finalists, all displaying their expert musical ability. Singing 15-year-old Kaysha Springer of the Frederick Smith Secondary School gave two performances in One Moment In Time and My Country To Me.
Kaysha displayed her innate musical ability, thoroughly enjoying herself onstage.
Also showing off his skills was Joshua Holder on the violin. He was a joy to watch, leaving the audience wanting more following his two pieces When I Was Your Man and Dangerous. Singer Jessica Hunte of the Coleridge & Parry School was quite impressive too in her piece Bottom Of The River. Backed by some of the member of the Coleridge & Parry Chorus, Jessica delivered an impressive Negro spiritual performance, which was arranged and directed by her mentor Marlon Legal.