Tue | Jul 7, 2020

A Spectacular Xaymaca 2016

Published:Tuesday | November 1, 2016 | 8:07 PMMarcia Rowe
'BEATZZ', choreographed by Liane Williams.
'Requiem in Memory of ...', choreographed by Renée McDonald.
'Requiem in Memory of ...', choreographed by Renée McDonald.
'Motherland', choreographed by Barbara McDonald.
'Cry Out', choreographed by Barbara McDaniel.
'Spoken Fires', choreographed by Michael Holgate.

Eight choreographed dances from seven innovative choreographers were brought to life by a pool of talented dancers from Dance Theatre Xaymaca (DTX) for its 21st Season of Dance.

They, along with their guests, enthralled the audience with fireworks, sassiness, passion, and joyfulness, all supported by aptly chosen costumes, captivating sets and lights, as well as inspirational music.

Choreographer Onaje's apocalyptic 2276 was the curtain opener. It was a collage of vibrant costumes and riveting sound effects, which came from the projected images on the cyclorama. The masked dancers wearing alien-like costumes showed that they were also up to the energy and intensity of the dance.

After a timely costume change by the dancers, they returned and surrendered their frantic movements of 2276 for more controlled ballet movements in Orrette Beckford's, Surrender. The dance about the blues saw the dancers moving elegantly in red dresses. Effortlessly, each moved from one formation into another, displaying graceful extensions.


Sassiness coloured Natalie Gallimore's Secret Moments. The dancer was Tara Price. The provocative choreography had her navigating across the stage of the Little Theatre, while showing a connection to her prop (a chair). And everything was carried out with precision. No wonder that on a show with all strong pieces, this was an audience favourite.

Michael Holgate's Spoken Fires closed the first segment. The 2014-premiered dance was justly executed by the company and their guests.

In segment two, choreographers Liane Williams and RenÈe McDonald continued the creative train. Williams' BEATZZ was the most contemporary and innovative of the programme. The red velvet curtains opened to reveal a stage strewn with red headsets and the dancers adorned in long, flowing dresses, a deviation from the customary dancehall attire. Soon, one of the dancers picked up a headphone, and with the sound of a Popcaan song playing in her ears, the movements began. With help from her fellow dancers, some great Jamaican dance moves were displayed.


McDonald is known to push the boundary with her choreography and Requiem in Memory of ..., did not disappoint. With her dancers wearing black lace dresses (females) and black and white attire (males), she had them extending not only their bodies, but their emotional capacity. Seeming to be set at the funeral of a loved one, the characters danced in grief. The sound of rain, which was synchronised with their pain, was a fine example of pathetic fallacy. Also, the anguish reinforced by black umbrellas held high and the gaping hole of the empty orchestra pit, front of audience, added to the drama.

McDaniel was the brain behind Cry Out and her 1996 remounted Motherland. The latter closed the show. And fittingly so, as the bright, neatly sewn costumes and the dance, which had an uptempo African beat, contrasted significantly with McDonald's more sombre mood. Ropes hanging over the stage, creating a forest-like image, the full complement of dancers showed that they were not only good at executing movements, but also had the ability to adjust to emotional requirements.

Cry Out was spiritually uplifting as the dance drama tells the story of Christians going in search of lost sheep and the difficulties that they encountered in doing so. Having Shelley-Anne Foster standing under the frame of a church while singing added dimension to the dance.

Overall, the first night of two was a success for choreographers, dancers, and the team of DXT.