Metamorphosis speaks to soul through dance


This article by Janine Charles-Farray appeared in Trinidad’s Guardian.

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”

These are the immortal words of the world-acclaimed “mother of modern dance” Martha Graham, an American dancer and choreographer recognised as one of the greatest artistes of the 20th century.

Graham’s words have also inspired this season’s theme for the Metamorphosis Dance Company series of concerts in T&T entitled, Language of the Soul.

This year will be the eighteenth that Metamorphosis, the dance company of the Caribbean School of Dancing in Port-of-Spain, will be hosting their annual dance season performances.

In an interview, artistic director Nancy Herrera said the dancers had been hard at work and were in excellent form for the show that runs from April 25 to 28.

“I have to say that all the dancers are on top of their game,” she said as she shared some notes from rehearsal.

“With London Royal Academy of Dance exams recently completed, all of the dancers are at the height of their performance, which will carry over to the level of dancing that people will see in the show.”

Herrera said that after a full term of classes, the Metamorphosis Dance Company would see almost half of the class from the Caribbean School of Dancing, approximately 12 dancers, involved in the programme.

The cast includes principle dancers Shari Rhyner and Yia Gomez as well as dancer and choreographer Juan Pablo Alba Dennis.

Dennis recently took the Advanced II Royal Academy of Dance, London exams—the highest level of ballet ever attempted by a male dancer from T&T.

This tradition of excellence is common for the Metamorphosis Dance Company.

According to its official biography, the Metamorphosis Dance Company was formed in November 1994 by Nancy Herrera, Carol Yip Choy and Christel De Souza (now residing in England).

The three were teachers from the Caribbean School of Dancing, interested in establishing a professional dance company. They’ve been since joined by Gillian Merry who now teaches at the school.

Once integrated into the company, all dancers are expected to be proficient in classical ballet and modern dance. Most of the company members have also achieved high levels of proficiency in Afro-Caribbean folk dance, Jazz and Tap.

Metamorphosis, as its name suggests, provides an opportunity for young local dancers to metamorphose into able, professional dancers as preparation for professional dance careers, usually pursued abroad.

“The Caribbean School of Dancing is a net exporter of dancers” said Herrera while she proudly showed off several photos of T&T dancers who have excelled abroad.

She said successful students from the school often went on to have solid careers at some of the best dance universities and dance companies in the world, such as Julliard in New York, York in Canada, Ballet Hispanico in New York, The Martha Graham Company and the Alvin Ailey Dance Company.

“Not many dance companies in the Caribbean are working at our standard, and we are pleased to have a following.

“Of course, we would also love to grow from here into having four sold-out shows this season.”

Language of the Soul will include several legacy dance pieces which have become standard favourites from the company.

This season features Carol Yip Choy’s Everything Comes to an End, which was choreographed in 1995 and performed in the company’s first ever season.

The piece is danced “en pointe” to the haunting music of Kitaro and traditional Japanese drums, with costumes and masks designed and made by John Christopher.

This year’s production will feature young talented dancers Reed Nottingham, Keeley Hosang, Andrea Mohammed, Leah Mendoza, Celeste Libert, Katherine Carrera, Marianna Frederick, Ana Maria De Freitas, Yannick Best and Vaugn Harper.

Other pieces for the show were choreographed by Bridgette Wilson, Claudia Applewhaite and Juan Pablo Alba Denis.

According to Herrera, “Bridgette was a dancer with the Company before she successfully completed her first degree at York University in Canada in Choreography.

“She created Le vitrail Glasmalerei, with music by Phillip Glass, along with a more contemporary and never-before scene piece entitled, This Is War to Sail by AWOL nation.”

Applewhaite is one of the senior teachers at Caribbean School and often choreographs audition pieces for the more talented dancers.

Of her choreographed pieces, R’adar Bach and Circle Song will be performed for the show.

Alba-Dennis is the winner of the inaugural 2011 Dai Aillan foundation scholarship and has recently been accepted into the Alvin Ailey Dance School at Fordham University.

For the show, he will present Where We Stand—a duet which he choreographed and will dance with Yia Gomez—to the music Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap.

Tickets for Language of the Soul are available at the Caribbean School of Dance office, 2A Dere Street, and at the Queen’s Hall box office between 9 am and 6 pm.

Showtimes are Thursday at 6.30 pm ($100), Friday and Saturday at 7.30 pm ($150) and Sunday at 6.30 pm ($150).

Visit the company online at

For the original report go to

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