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T&T dance goes to US
Twenty young dancers will represent T&T at this year’s World All Dance International (ADI) Competition, to be held in Orlando, Florida on November 23-26. All told the local contingent would number 45 people including family members and supporters. The dancers are members of the Candice Clarke Academy of Dance based in Edinburgh Gardens, Chaguanas.
Academy artistic director/choreographer Clarke said: “This is the first time that T&T will have representation in this particular competition and our Academy was specially invited by the ADI and we will be up against 72 countries. We are also the only Caribbean contingent involved although there will be companies from Latin America, the USA and South Africa.
“We will be competing in a variety of dance genres including Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, Contemporary and Lyrical, Tap. There is also a Show category in which we will present Creola Folk, a product of the Academy which will be performing a mixture of ballet and folk with a Caribbean flair. We are also participating in the Ethnic category, doing African dance. The Academy will be offering solos, duets, trios and groups. A mini group of children aged under seven will also be competing.”
The Academy, formed in Arouca, has been existence since 1997, and its first production was in 2001 at Port-of-Spain City Hall. Said Clarke: “That show was titled Styles and I remember charging an admission fee of $20 back then. People were very impressed on our debut performance and the Academy continues to grow from strength to strength.”
The Academy is now internationally recognised having staged shows at the Alvin City Theatre in Manhattan, the Little Theatre in Kingston, Jamaica, as well as did workshops at the Toronto Library. It is also a member of the Paris-based Conseil International de la Danse (CID) which is operated under Unesco. The CID brings together the most important international, national and local organisations, as well as select individuals active in dance.
Clarke describes certification by the CID as “a big deal.” She added: “My daughter, Chelsea, and three other Academy dancers are certified by the CID to be tutors in dance. This means they could teach dance in any of the member countries of the CID and are my tutors as well.
“Our members are well-rounded young people who excel in all endeavours. In July, 22-year-old Ariana Thomas won the Miss Talented T&T Pageant and on October 15, 12-year-old Tashana Riley won the Little Miss Elegance Pageant which was held at Cascadia Hotel in St Ann’s. They too will be participating in next month’s international competition. Also this year, Chelsea won the Hollywood Next Star Best Dancer Award in Los Angeles.”
On Saturday, November 18, the Academy will be staging a pre-tour production, titled I Am Phenomenal at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (Sapa), at 7 pm. Clarke said: “Patrons can expect to see a variety of dance styles by the senior members of the Academy, featuring the competition team which has been dubbed ‘The Dream Team’. The show will be opened by the senior dancers and its climax will showcase the competition dancers.
“We have invited the prime minister to attend and await feedback.”
The Academy departs Trinidad on November 22.