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Dancers grow with movement - Over half of Best of Dance from 'town'

Published:Monday | July 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMMarcia Rowe
Against All Odds, performed by Tivoli Dance Troupe, being done on Saturday at the JCDC's Best of Dance at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St Andrew.
Meadowbrook High School students perform Declaration at the JCDC's Best of Dance event, held at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St Andrew, on Saturday.
Carrol Western Preparatory School doing Olympic Fever.
Portmore Missionary Dance Troupe does Defender.
Dance in Motion, performed by In Motion Dance Studio.


The best of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) 2017 Festival of Dance Competition was on show.

Held on Saturday at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St Andrew, the JCDC's Best of Dance was the last of four days celebrating the best of the performing arts.

Like music, drama and speech that preceded the dance fest, performers came from across the island. However, more than 60 per cent of the dances on the programme were from Kingston and St Andrew.

For Tivoli Dance Troupe choreographer Roberta Daley, it was more than just competing. It was an opportunity to build confidence and self-esteem in her dancers. This was quite evident in the group winning Most Outstanding and Best Overall Dance with 'Against All Odds'.

Featuring four dancers from the primary to high-school levels, it was aptly choreographed to Adele's Rise Up.

Daley explained that the dance is a result of the background of the children she works with yearly. "They are from different communities from west Kingston. We try to tell them that not because you live in these communities and every day you hear bad words and you hear all kind of things, you do not have to be like that. You can be the one that rise up," she said.

"It is not everybody who lives in these communities behaves this way. These dancers have learned how to behave and speak."

Dancer Keana Hudson agreed that the dance showed her that regardless of where persons are from, "we can rise up and come out to be a better person".

For Shadayana Gayle, it all began in the rehearsal. "Our dance teacher tells us we have the potential, in spite of where we are from, we can achieve," she said.

The most effective part of the dance for Lutoyana Shelton is "when we take off our tops and throw them down. It helps us to understand that we can bloom where we are planted and can come out to be a better person."

Also performing were Meadowbrook High School with 'Declaration', Half-Way Tree Primary did the energetic 'Get in Line', and Camperdown High School did their very creatively executed 'Bongo Deleh'.

The most entertaining dances were from the St James-based Carrol Western Preparatory School with 'Olympic Fever' and Bridgeport Primary School with 'Tribute to M.J.'.