By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
THE young members of the Dance Bahamas School danced their way into the hearts of their audiences last weekend in a holiday performance which was just a taste of what is to come from the company in 2015.
For two nights, Friday and Saturday, dance enthusiasts and parents alike flocked to the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts to watch their ‘little gems’ shine.
The Dance Bahamas School is known as the official school of the National Dance Company.
Robert Bain, director of the National Dance Company and Dance Bahamas School, said the company has been laying low for a little while, but is expected to officially make a comeback in January.
“During the Christmas time it has become a (tradition) with us where we present a production and we give it a different theme. I am just fascinated by the colours of a gem stone, and then the value of the human spirit, my students, they are all gems,” said Mr Bain.
He described the Christmas show as an evening of entertainment for the entire family, friends and persons who just wished to have a different kind of experience.
“What it does for some of our parents is set the pace for the holiday season, so we try to make the show as holiday centered as possible. In the past we have done the ‘Nutcracker’. We haven’t done it in about four years, but we are planning to do it again next year, Lord’s willing,” said Mr Bain.
For one of the dance numbers in last weekend’s “Gems” production, Mr Bain selected a spiritual piece sung by Nina Simone, a song entitled “I’m Going Back Home”. He said it was a high-energy number for the kids to enjoy.
“There is also a piece that we did in the end, a Luther Vandross piece, the kids call it a love song. We tend to do a lot of abstract stuff that is very interesting and we also can do stuff that has little meaning that people can identify with. When we do abstract pieces, it challenges the dancers,” said Mr Bain.
The dancers in the show ages ranged from three years old to 18. Mr Bain said their student body consists of 80 kids in total.
“We try to keep it that way because we want to make sure that all of the students receive attention. My thoughts are that we are not just entertaining students that actually come into the school, we really want to develop dancers for the future. The art of dance has always been a part of our culture in one way or the other, so we can’t let it just die. We need to keep adding to the pool of dancers and we really need to be serious,” said Mr Bain.
The Dance Bahamas School, he said, is a “really serious school of dance”, and because of this some students do not last very long because they lack the kind of determination necessary.
The school offers ballet and tap classes, a gymnastic programme, modern and ethnic dance classes.
He said with their shows there is no particular focus on any one genre of dance or any particular dance itself.
“We have two sections, the classical section which happens at the beginning of the show, and then we have an intermission which is followed by a gymnastics demonstration and then a contemporary part of the show. We tend to feature our little students. We have them at the beginning and then later on in the show with small pieces of choreography,” said Mr Bain.
He said the school is very traditional, and while they do have a modern way of doing things, he tries to keep the teachings as close to tradition as possible.
“Once we can keep it to that, it keeps the school well grounded. Dance Bahamas is in its 14th year of existence and the National Dance Company this year is in its 23rd year. I just want people to support us because that is important in keeping the doors of the school open. We have to find ways of keeping the art in the country alive, so that is (the public’s) way to help us by supporting little events like this,” said Mr Bain.