Dance Caribe celebrates 25 years

Members of Dance Caribe brought a definite downtown vibe to the Scarborough ‘burbs with their 25th anniversary production of Retrospection … Then and Now.

By Dave Douglas

Most major dance productions are held in Toronto’s downtown core and as some folks would say, “It’s where the action is!”

Well, last Thursday, I witnessed lots of action and more in Scarborough at Dance Caribe’s 25th anniversary production Retrospection … Then and Now.

Martin Scott Pascall, founder / director and choreographer of Dance Caribe seems to be well on his way to taking Caribbean dance artistic expression to the World Stage. The show was nothing short of excellent and absolutely amazing, with top-notch, quality performances equivalent to any Broadway production!

From the progression of dance that came from roots in Africa and the Caribbean, Pascall’s Dance Caribe showcased a mélange of dance works that is unique to the Caribbean and performed in traditional and contemporary styles, taking you back on a journey highlighting their 25-year repertoire.

Retrospection … Then and Now was staged in three suites: Voices of Glory – a journey collection of mixed spirituals and modern contemporary suites; Toute Monde,Toute Baghai – a collection of mixed African, Latin, French and Afro Caribbean folk dances and African Swazi – a traditional style African celebration dance.

The opening of the World Premiere Danse Bele was strong, and captured the attention of the audience from the beginning. A powerful opening usually lends itself to a perfect ending, and in this case I was proved right.

The Drum Call, followed by the “Chantuelle” lead singer belting out the folk melody, Bele Drummer Roll accompanied by the sound of rolling drums was enough to run shivers down your spine.

The evening’s special guest, the Front Line Drumming Company led by Roger Pascall, Martin’s brother, gave a superb performance. The group is based in Trinidad and is dedicated to development of the young and the young at heart in learning drumming skills.

Overall, this was a fun and energetic production, mostly fast paced but fluid with explosions of colourful, well-coordinated costumes. They danced with fervor, exuberance and passion and by the end of the night, the overwhelming feeling at the Chinese Cultural Centre Theatre was that of gratitude from both cast and audience.

My bet is, like TV character George Jefferson in the song from The Jeffersons, Movin’ On Up, Martin Scott Pascall and Dance Caribe will be movin’ on up too. The company was invited by Cirque du Soleil to perform at the Pan Am Games ceremony in 2015 and that is where the action is!

Photos by Peter Tang

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