Entertainment

Dancers return from Complexions stint

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter

Sunday, July 16, 2017

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TWO Jamaican dancers, Oraine Frater and Ashley Bromfield, have just returned to the island following a one-week summer intensive in New York with the acclaimed Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

Both were specially chosen by Desmond Richardson, co-artistic director of Complexions, from a masterclass with local dancers held earlier this year. The dancers were provided with support including airfare, accommodation and stipend by Plié for the Arts — a local outfit dedicated to the promotion of the arts through exposure to international performers, and which organised the Complexions' two-performance stop in Jamaica

Both Bromfield and Frater described the week-long classes as being an eye-opener which can only serve to strengthen their careers in dance.

“It was amazing,” gushed Bromfield, who dances with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica.

“As expected, it was fast paced; that's why it's called an intensive, but I am happy we were able to catch on despite it being kinda hard in the first two days due to the difference in styles. Luckily for me, because of my ballet training, I knew the dance vocabulary and was able to follow once the instructions were given, as not everything was demonstrated,” she continued.

Amazing is also the adjective that comes first to Frater, who is the dance captain at local company L'Acadco.

“It was just amazing and I learned so much... I was like a sponge taking it all in. I was applying what I already knew and adding what I was learning. It was great that I was able to keep up with the pace, which was intense, and now I will be able to pass on what I have learned in this week to my fellow Jamaican dancers,” Frater told the Jamaica Observer.

Marisa Benain of Plié for the Arts further explained that the participation of these two Jamaican dancers in this summer intensive could lead to further engagements with Complexions.

“In October Complexions is looking for a pre-professional programme, where they take very young dancers and have them in an incubator setting for about a month, then they get to performing with Complexions, the actual company, on their gala night on November 15. So I am hoping that at least one of these two Jamaicans will be selected for that programme as they select based on the summer intensives and they invite them back for this. So they learn the actual repertoire and they dance along with the company at the gala at the Joyce Theater in New York.”

Benain is proud of the two young recipients and highlighted their strengths.

“Ashley was trained by Elizabeth Samuda at the Vicker's Ballet Studio and she currently performs with the National Dance Theatre Company. She has very strong ballet and modern techniques, and her performance quality is quite good, still more to go, but quite good for what she has experienced so far in Jamaica. This international experience and exposure is really good for her. Oraine is a seasoned principal dancer with L'Acadco, well trained and will do well having participated in this intensive. His facilities are excellent and this international exposure as a male will be excellent for him.”

Bromfield and Frater are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to showcase what they have acquired.

“What this whole experience has taught me is not to hold back. I now have to be more open. When you allow fear and doubt and uncertainty to hinder your performance you never give your all. That is my big take away from this experience,” noted Frater.

“I am so excited that the NDTC season is coming up in a week, as this intensive has pushed me even further and I just want to excel at what I do,” stated Bromfield.

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