Dance and theatre were in the spotlight in 2009

This year a plethora of dance and theatre shows took to the local stage, from Cayman National Cultural Foundation offerings to students taking initiative and staging their own production.

Cayman Drama Society

The amateur theatre troupe put on a number of performances which proved to be anything but amateur.

Standouts included the Agatha Christie Radio Plays, which toyed with the usual format of theatre by staging the production of a radio play, with different actors switching roles with just a voice change and with the sound effects booth in full view. Audiences enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at the traditional world of radio plays and the actors proved their talent with the split-second voice changes to represent different characters.

The latest production, Moon over Buffalo, provided a night full of laughs, with some of Cayman’s best amateur actors forming an ensemble cast that performed the riotous script with the pizzazz it required.

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The runaway success, however, had to be the Society’s production of Annie: The Musical. Not only was it a mammoth undertaking with a large cast and a requirement for choreography, music and staging, but it also debuted a new star to the stage in the shape of young Isabella Rooney, who played the title role to her father Neil Rooney’s Daddy Warbucks. It also created a first for the Cayman stage with local ‘dog whisperer’ Kenneth Morgan’s pup, Sammy-Jo, playing the part of Sandy, Annie’s dog, in the production.

Prospect Playhouse also hosted Ken Corsbie, the travelling Caribbean storyteller who has visited Cayman many times. He returned to the local stage in April, as his visit coincided with Cayfest, as Mr. Corsbie also appeared at Gimistory.

Cayman National Cultural Foundation

The Foundation was busy as ever this year with its play December showing throughout May and its annual Cayfest offering a variety of onstage experiences, from the touring Gimistory to Dance Vibes, hosted at the Harquail Theatre and featuring local dance groups such as Dance Unlimited and Savannah Primary School Dance Club and international group Ballet De La Television Cubana.

Rundown was its usual success, held in March. Featuring popular local actors such as Michael McLaughlin and Rita Estevanovich, the show was a well-put together combination of music, dance and comedy.

Stage education

Betsy Ann Woyach, a dancer who lives and works in Hollywood, visited the island in March to run some workshops with local dance studio Roots Delight.

Barnes Dance Academy launched its first Got Dance? competition, which brought international dancer Nick Gonzalez to Cayman as a guest celebrity judge in June. The quality of dancing revealed the hidden talents of Grand Cayman’s youth and Susan Barnes Pereira, the school’s owner and organiser of Got Dance?, said that she intended to bring the competition back next year.

In April, Natasha Kozaily, a university student, brought a festival celebrating tango to Cayman, called The Art of Tango. The festival helped to raise awareness and funds for Ms Kozaily’s non-profit arts organisation, called Cayman Arts Project.

Also in April, the Tomorrow’s Child Academy opened in King’s Sports Centre. Owner Fame Varona started the after-school programme to offer creative arts training to Cayman’s youth, something she felt was limited on the Island.

At the start of the year, teenagers were using their own initiative to put on the production Beauty and the Beast at Cayman Prep and High School. Year 13 students Jordyn Cleaver and Kiersten Stewart co-directed and produced the performance, which featured an all-student cast.

To finish off the year, Kirk Rowe – owner of Kri Performing Arts School – put on a Christmas show featuring students of all ages, from toddlers to adults. The show featured dance, music and singing and ran for three nights at Harquail Theatre.

New talent

Vivendi Cabaret opened its doors in February with a cast of Cuban performers whose talents run the gamut from dance to acrobatics, from juggling to gymnastics. The location offered two shows on alternating nights with a three-course meal included in the entry fee.

In September the venue re-opened with two new shows, a new cast flown in from Cuba and a separated entry fee and a la carte menu. The owners say that the changes will continue every six months to offer something fresh to returning tourists and residents.

Another new import into Cayman is the international phenomenon of Zumba, which combines dance moves with fitness for a fun but effective workout. World Gym introduced it at its crystal anniversary celebration and since then other venues, such as Miss Jackie’s School of Dance, have started to offer the classes.

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