L’Acadco’s 40th Season of Daaance leaves audience spellbound
The 40th season of Daaance presented by L’Acadco, titled ‘Kalunga’, can be summed up in just one word: extraordinary. From beginning to end, the pieces captivated the silent, but watchful audience that gathered for the presentation’s gala night on Saturday evening. It also served as a reminder of our history, trials, and triumphs while underscoring the idea that life should be celebrated in fullness once we have it and continues even after we have passed on.
If the mixture of purple and blue lights that adorned the paths leading up to the Phillip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts were a precursor to what was to take place on stage, then organisers carefully took the time out to ensure that attendees knew that the evening would transport them to different realms of life through dance.
The event started out with a premiere of ‘Ebony Heads’, choreographed by Dr L’Antoinette Stines, who has been the mastermind behind L’Acadco for the last four decades. The intensity of the drums while dancers flexed, stretched and contorted their bodies was a strong way to open. The drums, like the human heart, kept beating throughout — in fact, drumming is one key point of reference that those who witness the show are still alive. As the opening presentation concludes and the music ends, one would expect that the dancers are off the stage, making way for the next piece. However, they stay for a few more seconds and only the sound of their sighs and breathing can be heard until the final dancer takes his last intentionally audible breath on stage. This deliberate addition serves as a signal that even when the music, which is possibly another metaphor for life, ends, those who have breath carry on.
This motif spreads during most of the 10 dances that make up ‘Kalunga’. With such an impactful opener, the evening continues along those lines.
Throughout the night, the dancers continue to impress with their impeccable technique and emotive performances, blending elements of Jamaican dancehall, reggae, and African traditions with modern contemporary dance styles. The use of colourful lighting and intricate set design further enhances the visual spectacle, creating a truly immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression.
Among the standout moments – and there are many – is the performance of the 1985 piece ‘Satta: Give Thanks and Praise To the Most High’ , which, according to the programme, looks at how several qualities of the primordial woman are glorified in a sensuous tribute that draws its vocabulary from Yoruba/ Egyto Orisha gods and their dances. This choreography was done in the very first season of dance and remains alluring to this day. Now having Caribbean-wide acclaim, ‘Satta’ is a must-see live piece.
Of course, the premiere of the title dance, ‘Kalunga’, is also extremely memorable. The presentation is infectious to the spirit as it moves the audience through the line between death and the physical world. Backed by the drumming of L’Acadco’s Drum Xplosion, the intrigue and excitement of the piece is something magical and almost indescribable.
As the performance progressed, time seemed to fly by unnoticed, and before anyone knew it, the night had grown late. Such was the power of the performance that they held the audience spellbound, lost in the beauty and artistry of the show. ‘Kalunga’ was a testament to the incredible talent of the performers and their ability to transport their audience to another world, one filled with passion, energy, and unbridled joy. Gala night wrapped up minutes after 11 p.m. It’s an experience not to be missed, and one that will stay with audiences long after the final curtain call.
‘Kalunga’ runs on May 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. and on May 7 at 6 p.m.