Spectrum Dance Theater’s workshop here in Dhaka, an initiative to establish a strong camaraderie between Bangladeshi and American dancers, was indeed a success. Youngsters and trained dancers alike, who participated in the six-day workshop conducted by Spectrum’s dancers, achieved a lot in terms of the experience alone.
Dance, no matter what sort of physical ability it involves, serenades the most amazing creation of all — the human body. Meeting the dancers of Spectrum, watching them dance, speaking to them, and realising that though there are differences in our lines and movements, the discipline and manner of performance that we have are astonishingly similar — constituted an incredible experience.
Starting from March 5, the workshop was divided into two groups — Contemporary Jazz and Contemporary Hip Hop — after auditions were held. And when the workshop commenced, the bond between trainers and participants began to form. The trainers were: Shadou Mintrone, Donald Jones Jr, Jade Solomon Curtis and Ty Alexander Cheng. Other dancers of Spectrum — Vincent Michael Lopez, Kate Monthy, Stacey Williams and Derek Crescenti — toured the city, conducting short workshops at other institutions.
Seattle’s renowned Spectrum Dance Theatre is led by the artistic direction of Bessie Award-winning choreographer Donald Byrd, whom we all had the honour of meeting.
The workshop taught us versatility combined with techniques that we were not familiar with; in the process we realised that whatever the form of dance is, it can be broken down and simplified. Nothing is impossible.
One of the biggest lessons I have learnt from the workshop is that the more effortless it looks, the more effort goes into it. I distinctly recall Donald Byrd saying: “Your eyes choose where you want to look.” Eyes are the biggest assets one can have. Watching a dancer effortlessly move across the stage is one of my biggest passions. Having them tell a story — abstract or stripped down, dance is all they are consumed of. It can’t be translated.
(The writer is a member of Shadhona, and participated in the recent workshop conducted by Spectrum Dance Theatre from USA.)