Our Readers' Opinions
October 11, 2016
KCCU Dance Festival Finals 2016 – A review

Editor: On Saturday evening, I attended the final event of the KCCU National Dance Festival, a night to showcase the gold medallists in the different categories. I was pleased with the display of raw talent and enthusiasm for the art form by the dancers. I was particularly pleased with the efforts to keep our traditional dance forms alive and the effort to reclaim our lost heritage with one performance that featured our Garifuna punta.{{more}}

Notable performances also included an intricate maypole set, a twist to the quadrille, in which the colonizers danced off against and then joined our ancestors in their adaptation of European ballroom dancing, and a more modern piece entitled “Dance Wars Saga.”

The last performance characterized, however, a very partisan crowd that cheered the excellence of one dance group at the expense other gold winners. While I have no problem in supporting your own, the emphasis of being “the best” has to be put into context.

The chief judge from Barbados diplomatically put it where it belongs. She was encouraged by the talent, but exhorted the senior, more established dance groups to reach out to the other groups to raise the level of the national dance product. In other words, one-eye man in blind man country is king and it was clear to me that we have much work to do to raise our level of professionalism to that of Barbados, Jamaica, and Cuba.

Quite frankly, in my opinion, we have retrogressed. While the gold medallists were very energetic, I saw little grace, much repetition, and substandard technique. The show did not even live up to the standard of the last finals I witnessed two years ago. No one really stood out.

Until we bring our product back up to what people like Tracy Connell, Kingsley Duncan, Kay Bacchus, David Darkie Williams, and Debbie Matthews displayed on stage, we would not be ready for the opportunities the Minister of Culture emphasized would accrue from the tourism growth that would follow the opening of the Argyle International Airport.

I do not want to throw cold water on our young dancers; they are doing their best. My critique is for the dance teachers to focus more on developing our dancers so that they can effectively compete on the world stage. We have to get back to basics.

Two Left Feet