11 ½ Dunoon Road
"Honest Labour Bears a Lovely Face"
It was a show of colours, vibrancy and, for the most part, clinical executions by the young talents, representing Vaz Preparatory School, situated on Dunoon Road, Kingston. However, to have shared in the 60th anniversary land mark event, the school's launch of its dance troupe, students, parents and well-wishers had to make their way to the Little Theatre, Tom Redcam Avenue. And they were not disappointed.
Embolden by its achievements in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Festival of the Performing Arts - Dance, the school, under the guidance of choreographer Charmaine Blake, launched its dance troupe with two shows, on Saturday and Sunday.
There were 19 dances on the programme. They embraced the familiar genres of reggae, gospel, soca and jazz and were choreographed to songs from artistes such as Etana, Michael Jackson, and others. The dancers' talents were as varied as their ages. Those on stage were as young as to find themselves in the first grade, while others were old enough to be their teachers.
Generally, the dances seen on Sunday evening, the closing night, were of a high standard. They were presented in well-chosen costumes, which were only matched by the three backgrounds and the complementary lights.
Some of these dances were memorable for other reasons though.
The passion and intensity displayed by the dancers, the creativity of the choreography and the brilliance and energy generated from the music are just some of those reasons.
The opening number and the programme title, 'VAZ-O-RAMA', was one of the memorable ones. It generated the right energy for an opening piece and set the tone for the evening. It was performed by the full complement of present and past students. Dressed in black, accentuated by red beads, they captured the playfulness of the piece.
Past student Melissa Myers performed 'The Loner', a dance choreographed to the song Weeping Willow Tree, from the movie Roots. It could easily be interpreted as a tribute to Rex Nettleford, but that was not said.
Myers was a picture of perpetual motion, a continuous flow of swirling movements, using up a large portion of the stage, supported by lovely extensions.
Students of grades one and two also gave memorable performances in 'Twisters' and 'Movements'. Wearing orange costumes, the young ones were a carnival of concentration in 'Movements'. They extended arms and legs, ran circles and formed lines to the beat of the music as they carried out the choreography of their teacher. But it was in the jazz dance, 'Twisters', that they received the loudest applause. That applause fit the little ones' jazzy attitudes and their jazzy swag.
The evening also belonged to the teachers. With a show of experience and talent they did more than just dance, they ministered.
'Worship Him' was unforgettable.
In full white dress, against a backdrop of a cross hanging upstage right, the teachers were passionate and intense as they communicated the words of the song through the language of the dancer. And their sermon was not in vain, as on completion of their dance someone from the audience responded: "Thank you Lord".
The Vaz community plans to make this season of dance into an annual event and they are wished the best.