Dwright Wright, Artistic Director of the multiple-award-winning Campion College Dance Troupe, made sure that the significance of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary celebrations was an integral aspect of this year’s upcoming season of dance.
“The season is entitled UMOJA,” he reveals. “UMOJA is a Swahili word that means unity and togetherness, and relates to the fact that the driving force behind our 2012 season is to encourage Jamaicans to unite as one nation under God as we celebrate 50 years of Independence.”
There will be two shows at the Little Theatre, a gala performance on Saturday, June 30th, 2012 at 8pm, and another show on Sunday, July 1st, 2012 at 7pm.
Wright says audiences can expect exciting performances, given that the troupe has already proven itself at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s Parish Dance Finals, where dancers won an impressive 16 gold medals and 2 silver medals. One of the dances which will be showcased, the duet FRIENDS FOR NOW, choreographed by Wright himself, received a 96% score at the Parish Finals. The duet is performed by Taro Jones and Jillian Edwards.
The high level of talent is evident in the fact that Marlon Simm’s TETRAD showcases dancers who are all trainees of the internationally acclaimed National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), while a talented third form student, Gillian Steele, already an NDTC member, will make her debut performance this season.
Wright says audiences will also benefit from the troupe’s increased emphasis on technical skills.
“We now have a technique class in which we train dancers in basic dance technique in order to ensure quality. The head of that program is Kerry-Ann Henry, a past Campionite and ballet mistress for NDTC,” he explained.
The troupe has also benefitted from an influx of promising dancers, as the successes of the past few years led to over 100 students auditioning for membership. The result is an abundance of talent.
Audiences will see that talent on display in a range of genres such as African dance, jazz, folk, modern contemporary, gospel, reggae, ska and dancehall. The season also features different themes, namely, Slavery, Emancipation and Independence, Caribbean and Afro Centric Folk, Praise and Worship, Social Commentary: Life in Jamaica, Love and Relationship, and Popular Dance Culture.
Also choreographing dances this year are Derrick McCarthy and Neila Ebanks, former NDTC members, along with Stefanie Thomas and Kerry-Ann Henry of the NDTC, and Oraine Frater from L’Acadco.
The program is strongly supported by Principal Grace Baston, who has been concentrating on offering a more comprehensive education to students, allowing them to excel in the performing arts and sports, as well as the academics for which the school has been known.
As a result, the Campion College Choir and Band, under the directorship of Actor Boy nominee and noted musician Karen Armstrong, will offer a suite of patriotic songs.
In fact, the Campion College dancers have proved their ability to successfully balance academics and dance, with all of last year’s senior dancers having moved on to college.
“Our members are aware of their responsibility as “Campion dancers,” says Wright, who is also a teacher of Economics at the school. “I stress academics as I want them to excel in all areas of life.”
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