My Jamaica, my Dance: JDU 2014

Jamaica Dance Umbrella happened this weekend! My heart goes out to all the dance lovers who missed it; it was truly a spectacular occasion.

JDU is an annual production by the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts that was created six years ago to celebrate dance as an extension of theatre. It brings together dancers from all over the Caribbean and the wider world.

Starting on Thursday evening with a cocktail launch (I got to dress up and act fancy!), the showcase of dance theatre paid homage to stalwarts of Jamaican dance Patsy Ricketts and Clive Thompson (‘stalwarts’ is kind of a buzzword now).

It was a lovely beginning, made all the sweeter by dancers from our own National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) and the Guadeloupe company Myriam Soulange. Additional performances by Tribe Sankofa helped to round the evening out. Many thanks to the French Ambassador to Jamaica Madame Ginette de Matha for her second year supporting the dance festival.

The opening night of the 3-day event saw performances by (locally) the University Dance Society, NDTC, ArabesK Dance Collective and Movements as well as Ashani Dances from Seattle. The pieces were phenomenal, with breathtaking choreography and (for the most part) flawless execution.

I have to assume that Saturday and Sunday nights followed the same pattern of awe-inspiring dance because I didn’t get to see them. Sad face. I have no doubt, however, that L’Acadco, Quilt Performing Arts Company and the Company Dance Theatre brought their all to the performance space as they usually do, finishing off the 2014 installment of Jamaica Dance Umbrella with characteristic flair.

We are only the messengers, bringing you the gift of yourselves.
-Clive Thompson (on accepting his award for significant contributions to dance in Jamaica)

All pictures credited to Maya Wilkinson and the PSCCA.

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