Celebrating 30 years of dance with Dance Caribe

By Lincoln DePradine

Martin Scott-Pascall

Trinidad-born Martin Scott-Pascall, a veteran of the performance arts, and members of Dance Caribe Performing Company (DCPC), are somewhat busier than they usually are. Not only is DCPC celebrating 30 years as a group, but the dancers also are looking ahead to a major European performance next year.

“We will be preparing for the World Folklore Dance Festival in the Ukraine in August 2020,’’ Scott-Pascall, artistic director of DCPC, told the Caribbean Camera.

It will not be the first time Dance Caribe, which was founded by Scott-Pascall in 1989, will be embarking on an overseas tour.

When the 2018 World Folklore Dance Festival was held in Philippines, DCPC was there. They were judged the most outstanding of 14 participating countries and Scott-Pascall was voted best choreographer.

In three decades of existence, DCPC members also have performed in other places such as the United States, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia.

They also have been to South America and the Caribbean, showcasing their talent to audiences in Venezuela, Dominica and in Trinidad and Tobago where, among other things, DCPC was the guest at the opening of the Prime Minister’s Best Village Folklore competition in 2016.

Scott-Pascall studied dance and theatre at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad. He also studied at Montreal’s Concordia University, the University of Toronto and York University.

“I founded Dance Caribe Performing Company as a testament to my love for the Caribbean dance artistic aesthetic and it’s the core and centrifugal force of the company,’’ said Scott-Pascall, who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. He also possesses a Teacher’s diploma and a Fitness & Nutrition diploma, as well as a certificate in Artist in Education.

Through DCPC, said Scott-Pascall, he’s able to showcase his many talents for “choreography, directing, acting, and dancing and also costume design’’.

DCPC’s slogan is, “preserving through dance, the cultural diversity of the Caribbean’’, and Scott-Pascall has directed and choreographed all of the group’s major productions. These include “Ah Taste of Best Village’’ (1991); “Veni Zante’’ (I996); “Dance Baghai’’ (I998); “Ambakaila’’ (2000); “Remorse in de Gayal’’ (2002); “Koombana Suite’’ (2005); “Danse Du Sol’’ (2006); “Sayamanda’’ (2009); “Anancy Stories’’ (2011); and the group’s 25th anniversary production, “Retrospection…Then & Now’’.

Over the years, Scott-Pascall’s passion for dance led to him becoming founding-director of the DC Youth Performing Arts and resident choreographer for the Club Carib Hummingbird Dancers of Oshawa. In addition, he’s choreographer for the International Multicultural Fiesta Dancers of Oshawa.

Scott-Pascall also has directed and choreographed film and stage productions in Toronto and Montreal; designed costumes and participated as a masquerader at Toronto’s Carnival; and worked on some of the biggest events hosted in Canada, such as the Ontario Pavilion at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic. He also was one of the choreographers for the opening show for the 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games in Toronto.

Many awards have been bestowed on Scott-Pascall, who is CEO and National Executive Director for the Miss Teen and Junior International Dance Pageant. He’s also been an official of the Miss Canada Globe Production, and has worked as a judge and choreographer with several Canadian pageants.

His public accolades include a Harry Jerome Award from the Black Business and Professional Association; the Canadian Black Cultural Achievement Award for excellent contribution to dance; Trinidad & Tobago Republic Day Dance Arts Award presented in Toronto in 2000; and Caribbean Cultural Achievement Awards for Best Director, Best Choreographer and Best Folk Dance Group.

A series of events, commemorating Dance Caribe’s 30th anniversary, is being held under the theme, “DANCE DE L’ESPRIT’’.

“It means ‘Dance of the Spirit’’’, Scott-Pascall explained. “This was chosen so we can showcase the beauty and soul of our Caribbean folklore dances.’’

The commemoration opened with a November 3 service at Scarborough’s Church of the Nativity and continued this week with daytime school shows.

Adults shows, starting 8 pm, are on Thursday (November 7) and Friday (November 8), at Fairview Theatre Library, 35 Fairview Mall Drive.

The major event is Friday, November 15. That’s when DCPC hosts a gala and an awards’ ceremony, which will include a dance segment as part of the entertainment.

Scott-Pascall says the event, at Rembrandt Banquet Hall in Scarborough, will also be a celebration of his birthday, which is on November 12.