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Dancing with Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis Dance Co celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. To celebrate, and in retrospect, Metamorphosis will be staging its 2015 Season performance of both signature and new works at Queen’s Hall from April 13-19, with a fund-raiser on April 18, and an exhibition on its creative history. Lisa Beharry Gift is one of the longest dancing members of the company, as she writes in this piece.
I’ve been dancing since I was four years old. I’m originally trained in ballet at the Caribbean School of Dancing, the oldest ballet school in T&T. However, I only took a keen interest in dance as a teenager when I started performing more often and training in other dance techniques such as jazz, modern, contemporary and Afro-Caribbean folk.
In my late teens I joined the Metamorphosis Dance Co and remained a member for 14 years, in the last three of which I became a teacher, choreographer and rehearsal director. In 2009 I left Trinidad to pursue other dreams; still, all those years of performing helped to drive my love and passion for dance and encouraged me to explore other forms of dance and movement such as hip hop, Middle Eastern dance, Latin, Capoeira, Indian, Afro-Brazilian and Zumba.
I see dance as a means of expression through the body. One of the most rewarding things for me is to be on stage performing and to engage an audience solely through movement. It’s a unique way to tell a story, convey an emotion or tap into the imagination. In fact, my dance mantra is, “Dance is a means of expression through movement to make up for what I can't say in words.” Dance has always played a significant role in my life and I don’t expect that would change anytime soon.
For the last three years I’ve been back in Trinidad, dancing and performing regularly with the Continuum Dance Project and the Astor Johnson Repertory Dance Theatre. Even with the challenges of managing a busy daily schedule—which comes with the territory of working in advertising—dancing and performing will always be a permanent fixture in my life.
Metamorphosis’ 20th anniversary season is a very exciting one for me. I’m pretty nostalgic being involved with the company again and dancing alongside my former cohort from as far back as 1995. Even after so many years I still see the love everyone has for dance. For a dance company to survive and grow for 20 years is such a remarkable achievement.
I’m incredibly proud that I was part of the journey and even more honoured that I can be a part of this 20th anniversary. This year’s show will definitely be a big one and there will certainly be some surprises in store for the audience.
Rehearsals for 20 are directed by Bridgette Wilson, who has choreographed a grand finale piece comprising over 30 past and present Metamorphosis dancers. Old and new pieces will be showcased, including those choreographed by artistic director Nancy Herrera, Patricia Roe, Sonja Dumas, Reggie Wilson and Joyce Kirton.
Tickets are priced at $100 (April 16 Student show), $200 (April 17 and 19) and $400 (April 18 fund-raiser). Tickets are available from the Caribbean School of Dancing, Monday–Friday from 10 am – 6 pm, and at the Queen’s Hall Box Office during the week of the show from noon.
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