An Urban Musical story of a Dancer
Artistic Direction by Tamla Matthews and Lennox Glasgow
Toronto – ON, After 15 years of staging Afro-Caribbean dance productions, Tamla Matthews shows us her heart. And who better to tell her own story, than the woman herself. Producing and starring in her true life story of shame, regret and triumph, The Caribbean Dance Theatre presents Tamla Matthews in, Awakening: An Urban Musical Story of a Dancer. Thursday June 17th – 18th 2010.
ABOUT THE STORY:
Awakening opens with Tamla’s fondest childhood memory, dancing in the living room with her six siblings for an audience of one. “My mother would just love to see us all dancing together, nothing made her happier.” But when Tamla starts to take her African dance classes seriously, she quickly learns there’s a price to pay. “I can remember when I was ten years old, coming to school with my African dance outfit. That long multi patterned billowy skirt, with the equally colourful head wrap. At a time when hip hop was gaining global hype, what I was doing just was not cool. I got laughed at. For a long time, I was ashamed of it. ”
The audience will dance with Tamla as she explores ballet and modern forms searching for her identity as a dancer. “I never could feel the soul from other forms that I felt from African dance. And it was a struggle to stay committed because I never saw myself reflected anywhere. The only black dancers I saw were in FAME and in music videos.”
Tamla has to make a tough choice when a life altering opportunity comes knocking. She must decide whether to give up on her tradition in exchange for fame or to give back to the art form that has given her so much.
ABOUT THE SHOW:
Awakening brings back traditional African dance form and fuses it with modern Caribbean dance technique. Live musical and spoken word accompaniment intricately reveals a world of diverse dance styles from gospel to reggae. The dancers range in age from 3 to 35, with black women of all different shapes and shades. Their common thread is a deep pride for their art form rooted in Afro-Caribbean heritage. Something Tamla says is her mission in life. “The importance of it is really reflected in my 3 year old daughter. After one performance, she stood holding my hand still dressed in her long colourful skirt and tiny head wrap. Other little girls came over and were gushing, saying, “You look so pretty, just like a princess.” That was emotional for me, because I remember how I used to be ashamed of my dance clothes, and how I longed to be a princess. But she can stand there and be admired and be proud. And maybe now, finally, a little black girl can be a princess too.”
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Tamla Matthews has been an active member of the Toronto dance community for over 22 years. An accomplished Artistic Director, Choreographer and dance artist of local and international acclaim, Tamla is a certified fitness instructor and creator of Reggaerobics. She is a mainstay judge at the annual York Region District School Board Dance competition and the Director of Caribbean Dance Theatre. She will be playing herself in this production, and her 3 year old daughter Egypt will be playing “young Tamla”.
Lennox Glasgow is a dancer and dance instructor from Trinidad and Tobago. A well versed educator, Lennox was the Artistic Director of the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy competition in Trinidad for 12 years. He has been summoned to places like Japan, Germany and Africa to perform. Calypso enthusiasts may recognize Lennox as the famous Calypsonian Hit Man who performed in the Trinidad calypso circuit in the 1990s.
ABOUT THE COMPANY:
This production marks the 15th anniversary of the Caribbean Dance Theatre (CDT). Specializing in Contemporary Caribbean based dance styles that celebrate the Caribbean contribution to the Canadian cultural mosaic; Caribbean Dance Theatre’s signature style honours the cultural root, celebrates the present and inspires possibilities for the future of dance in Canada.
Awakening: An Urban Musical Story of a Dancer
Thursday June 17th – 18th 2010 at 8pm
Toronto Centre for the Arts (5040 Yonge Street)
Tickets range from $25 – $40.
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