Dance under one Umbrella

Arts & Culture

Dance under one Umbrella

Observer writer

Thursday, March 07, 2019

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Michael Holgate, conceptualiser of Jamaica Dance Umbrella (JDU), says the concept continues to etch its way through the Caribbean's performing arts glass ceiling.

“Every year is unique because it is the dance community that builds the JDU for the year. There is nothing like JDU in the English-speaking Caribbean…and probably not in the entire Caribbean, so it is a unique show all round,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

The 11-year-old group held their third and final show for this year Sunday at the Philip Sherlock Centre For The Creative Arts. Performances came from the Barbados Dance Project, Ashe Company, Company Dance Theatre, One Body One God, Tip Tap Toe, and Dream Chasers of the Cayman Islands.

Nicoy Palmer delivered a solo performance, followed by a dance and photography collaboration featuring Michael Small and Daniel Edwards.

Holgate said the JDU provides a bridge where dancers and supporters meet.

“The JDU continues to be a platform for all that is good about dance in Jamaica. It is a space where all genres of dance are welcomed and have a space. It is a space where audiences get to fully experience the dance that is Jamaica in one spot,” he added. “In any JDU weekend, you get dancehall, modern dance, folk and traditional dance, fusions, tap, Latin dance, West African dance, among others.

Holgate had special praise for a particular group.

“One group that exceeded expectations was the Barbados Dance Project. That's not because I had low expectations. They were here last year with the group Ayikodans from Haiti and they did a good job. This year, however, they were phenomenal. The dancers were superb. The choreography was dynamic and exciting. I am still thinking of the physical fluidity and lyrical dynamism of one of their dancers called Stephanie Takei-Taylor,” he said.

Patrons were also enthused by the quality performances.

“It's been great! It needs to be marketed more,” Carolyne Lewis told the Observer.

Regular attendee Joan King said she keeps returning because of the show's uniqueness.

Holgate has plans for expansion.

“Next year we intend to expand fully into being a regional festival and have an off season showcase of new work,” he explained.

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