BABY DOLLS: The Baby Dolls during their segment on stage.

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'spooked'

la danse caraibe stages 'poetry in motion'

By Verdel Bishop

La Danse Caraibe (LDC) staged an eventful dance production at Queen's Hall, St Ann's, last weekend. The two-day production, which ended December 2, saw a large turnout of adults and their children for LDC's latest production titled "Spooked".

The production took patrons along on a tailspin of spooky events around a plot in which a little girl, Precilla, gets lost in the woods on Carnival Sunday. She is harassed by a series of traditional folk and Carnival characters, including jamettes, jab-jabs, blue devils, La Diablesse, howling monkeys and baby dolls.

More than 100 young dancers from LDC were part of the 16-plot production which featured the works of six choreographers – Heather Henderson Gordon, Arlene Frank, Candice Ellis, Gregor Breedy, Nydia Byron and Takyha Springer. The series of spooky events began with "The Church yard", choreographed by Henderson-Gordon.

There were various highlights of the production especially in scenes from "Hunters on the Hunt" in which Takhya Springer and Curt Alexander's choreography kept patrons on the edge of their seats with exhilarating modern dance moves.

"Pay the Devil" another "spooky" plot choreographed by Henderson-Gordon featured traditional devil drums in a pore raising repertoire of dance formations.

Another noteworthy segment was "The Mushroom Patch" in which more than 20 tiny tots in cute light gold costumes perfected their roles as little mushrooms which warmed the hearts of patrons and brought smiles to their faces.

There were quite a few sexy girls in "Dame Loraines", an exciting plot choreographed by Arlene Frank. "Pay the Devil" had children in the audience on the edge of their seats as Precilla found herself in the darkest deepest den in the plot "Darkest Den" where she is pounced on by Blue Devils but was eventually saved by her brother and his friends who have themselves been involved in a series of events while on their search to find Precilla.

In the segment "Oil Down Under", Precilla found herself entrapped in a series of events, including a wake. This pulsating and enthralling segment featured limbo dancers whose invigorating folk dancing was accompanied by traditional drums.

One limbo dancer skillfully manoeuvred herself under a very low bar of fire which caused some in the audience to gasp.

However, once the limbo was successfully completed, there were rounds of appreciative applause from patrons.

Other segments included "Friends Argue", "Baby Baby Dolls", "La Diablesse", "Baby Doll Pack", "The Hot Pack", "Howling Monkeys", "Butterflies" and "Granville Folk Performers". Dance styles featured throughout the production were demonstrated in various genres including hip hop, modern, tap, ballet and folk.

Henderson-Gordon said the production's aim is two-fold -- to expose LDC dancers to live stage performances and to demonstrate the plethora of dance styles and the quality and standard of the schools' rich repertoire. According to Henderson-Gordon, the experience helps in the dancers' development and discipline. The production took four months to produce.

Henderson-Gordon noted, "The production is mainly to give the students an experience on stage as part of their training. It's a joy for them; they've been excited about it. It's a discipline that entails not just dancing but it also builds self-esteem." She added, "The schools vision is to have as many styles to develop the diversity of the individual to develop any style."

Proceeds from "Spooked" will go towards a building fund and various repairs with an aim to expanding the school's programme.

LDC opened its doors in 1986 to offer training to children from age three in the ballet and modern dance styles of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD).

With a vision to develop well-rounded dancers, the school, which encourages its students to train in a minimum of three disciplines, was the first in Port of Spain to complement its classical and indigenous dance instruction with urban hip-hop techniques. LDC boasts a long list of past productions, including the musical Dancer, which featured an original soundtrack composed by Roger Israel, musical direction by Allison St Clair and a script that was adapted from the book written by Marguerite Gordon.

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