DTX & WDT’s ‘Synergy’ Dance Show

Written by Dominique and Company Dance

Disclaimer: Not many photos/videos were taken. We were too busy enjoying the show.

A dance show for the history books!

Synergy, the historical dance show where the sister companies, Wolmer’s Dance Troupe (WDT) and Dance Theatre Xaymaca (DTX) met on The Little Theatre stage for the second time to deliver breathtaking performances. Founder and Artistic Director, Miss Barbara McDaniel described this show as a “rebirth of dance in Jamaica”, after three (3) years without a show due to COVID-19. After attending the show, we searched for the definition of “Synergy”. With knowledge of the definition we became 1000 times clearer on the messaging and symbolism of the show.

Definition of Synergy:

The combined power of a group of things when they are working together is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately: Teamwork at its best results in a synergy that can be very productive. 

We attended the first night of the three (3) night show. Walk with us as we highlight a few memorable elements of the show.

The Dancers

Everything could be felt through their movements and their facial expressions. Every single person was in character and not one seemed out of place. There was oneness, no one was trying to outshine the other, they were a TEAM. They ALL “ate and left no crumbs” (they gave their all and left everything on the stage). 

Let’s get into a honourable mention, the pinnacle of any dance show, the kids. They “stole” the show, like they always do. Their movements were enough to showcase their skills and the infancy of their excellent technique. There was cuteness overload all round.

Let us also touch on those young dancers in the Wolmer’s Dance Troupe. Years from now, they will be revered even more than they are now. Their extensions were nothing short of excellent when comparing them to their senior counterparts (DTX). Let’s just say, DTX, stay on your toes because those WDT girls are coming for you AND that’s on Miss Barbara McDaniel and Miss Natalie Gallimore, PERIOD (end of story). 

The Diversity of the Dance Pieces

The dance pieces ranged from Modern, to Dancehall, to Reggae, to Cultural, to Gospel, to Soca, to Contemporary, to Lyrical. It was a nod to how diverse these dancers are and how the stories these choreographers had to tell were not unique to one era or problem. The pieces allowed us to travel through the ages and they gave us a mind full of thoughts that kept us asking “what’s next?”

It’s at this point that we say,

The Synergy was Synergizing

This brings us to….

The Storytelling

The storytelling was clear, we didn’t have to spend time wondering about what message the piece was trying to send. All the elements (movements, costuming, lighting, music etc.) pointed the audience in the direction of the message it was trying to bring across. Now, we’ll highlight the various elements that enhanced the storytelling.

The Messaging

Most pieces were VERY VERY relatable to us in this day and age. “Trodding Tru” spoke to the present day work mentality that has been with us from slavery days to now. We went home singing about the ‘ole slave mill’ and it gave us much to digest and discuss amongst ourselves. This piece was choreographed by Michael Holgate and remounted by Ayana Graham, Catherine Reid and Shae Osbourne. The same could be said for “In Recovery”, choreographed by Joshua Craigie.

The Movement / Technique

The jumps, the extensions, the tuck and rolls were impeccable. Their movements embodied SYNERGY through and through. The oneness with which they moved and the cleanness with which they executed those moves was something we haven’t witnessed in a long time. They had the audience hypnotised from start to finish. It was obvious that hours were spent on sharpening and shining those movements to allow the audience to properly hear the music through their movements. The movement and technique were like a Chef’s Kiss, simply exquisite. Shout out to, Artistic Director, Natalie Gallimore for helping to push these dancers into excellence.

The Costuming

For each dance piece, we kept saying, this costume is lovely. It accentuated all the right body parts and they were all enhancing the messaging behind the piece. 

The Choreography

Let’s just say, “hats off” to all the choreographers for the show, they deserve a road paved with roses. The pieces performed are timeless.

The Lighting

The lighting did not start out perfectly BUT as the show went on, it was adjusted accordingly for the dances. Luckily it didn’t take much away from the dances or dancers’ execution. For as long as events continue, so will #TechnicalDifficulties. 

There was a particular piece where the lighting was spot on, “The Pearly Gates” choreographed by Kevin Moore and remounted by Victoria Younger, Tara Henry, Abigail Howell. The switch between blue for the angels and red for the demons as they swayed on and off the stage was pure gold. It truly elevated the experience.

The Props

In all honesty, we were not expecting so many props to be a part of the show. It was quite a pleasant surprise that surely helped the audience to better visualise and relate to the piece. There were masks, umbrellas, flags and more used to help pull together the story.

Umbrellas were used in “Requiem”, a piece choreographed by Renee McDonald and remounted by Catherine Reid and Shae Osbourne. Flags were used in “Pocomania”, a piece choreographed by Barbara McDaniel. Let’s just say, those umbrellas and flags were dancing up a storm.

The Music

The music in the theatre wasn’t overpowering or deafening. The music selections were ones that the audience could actually relate to. In the second half of the show, the music had very minor glitches and sticking at different parts in the music BUT let us explain what we chalked that up to. 

The beginning of the second  half of the show was the Gospel segment. Our belief was that the music was also getting into “spirit”. If any of you readers have been to church to witness persons getting into spirit or have experienced it yourself, then you would understand the importance of the music glitching and sticking. In “the spirit”, you glitch and stick, you’re not able to fully form sentences but you shout and keep it pushing (moving); that’s exactly what the DTX and WDT dancers did. The show must go onThis therefore, enhanced the experience for us. 

Again, we say,

The Synergy was Synergizing

The Drumming/Drummers

Putting dancers and drums together always produces magic. “Butterfly Tale”, choreographed by Marlon Anthony and remounted by Ayana Graham, Catherine Reid and Shae Osbourne definitely had us captivated and floating through with the dancers. We admired their agility and the use of the skirts. They hit every beat and finished with a bang.

The drummers kept us entertained, they definitely put on a show for us while we were waiting on the dancers to prepare for the finale dance. 

The Flow of the Show

The dance pieces went by fairly quickly but not to the point of making it feel as though there was no substance. There was more to take in than we even realised. Being able to watch a dance show more than once allows you to be able to see the people and moves in the back, corner or front that you’ve never seen before. The transitions between dances were seamless, making it feel like we were watching not just a dance show but a movie. 

The dancers were also adequately paced throughout the show. Halfway into the show and closer to the end of the show, the dancers showed no signs of fatigue, not on their faces or with their bodies.  

The next time you hear about a DTX or WDT show, it’s a MUST that you go and experience excellence. If there were glitches, they were barely felt or experienced. All of those little intricacies mentioned above, made this show one of the most satisfying and energising shows for the year. The entire team involved in this production, from dancers, to parents, to sponsors, to the technical team and those involved in the planning and execution of this season of dance, you absolutely deserve your flowers. 

And we say, one last time,

The Synergy was Synergizing

Photo of previous DTX performances

Photo Credit: Renee McDonald