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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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CELEBRATION OF DANCE

Usually in the theater during performance there is an unwritten but understood code of conduct. The more sophisticated the event, the stricter the code. Clapping occurs at certain prescribed times; silence is observed once the lights dim and during the performance; and in some theaters, as in Church, you do not move to and from your seat until the performer has finished that particular scene and the audience has begun to clap.
Not so Wednesday's Celebration of Dance at the Reichhold Center for the Arts. This was children's theater with dancers from VI Montessori and Antilles School, offering only two adult pieces in the line up. After each piece the dancers were presented with a red carnation, as if in a curtain call, and proceeded into the audience to find their families. Consequently, there was a constant ebb of people back and forth out of their seats during the entire performance. This seemed to work, as everyone fell silent for the actual dance moments and then mingled about during the short breaks.
Kaye Robertson – no timid woman – handled 135 dancers, ranging in age from five to thirty-plus, with remarkable aplomb. Everyone had a costume to be proud of, everyone had a good piece of music and, of course, there was the gloriously large Reichhold stage to romp on. This combined with effective lighting and good soundboard results from Corbi Boynes and the whole crew, produced a well-paced show to the end.
Some moments that stood out: the smallest stars in flowing blue and pink tulle skirts with white feather boa shoulder trim; the tumbling skills of Lily McMenamin; and the sheer energy of dancers Michael Feracho and Michael Day in Reality Check.
Robertson has a well-calculated vocabulary for moving her dancers. Though some of the steps were repetitive, the stage coordination of that many young performers was quite seamlessly done. The duet of Robertson and partner Jude Woodcock was a clever theme requiring the use of two soft yellow beach balls as props. Never once did the ladies lose thematic or physical control of their props and the rolling choreography seemed to fit as well.
All in all, a very enjoyable two hours spent under the stars at one of my favorite theaters anywhere. The young dancers ate up the stage and expended great amounts of adrenaline, as for many it was their first time on a real stage. Cheers to all and let's do it again next year!

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