Get in the Ring–Ringmaster to Headline U.Ps Cineplex

 T rue art is transcendent in that it can elevate its audience to another realm—a divine dominion of joy and grace inspired by the artistry of the piece. Last year, I experienced this divine transcendence by watching a dance performance. It was the first time dance had moved me so viscerally, and it took place during the RINGMASTER stage show on Tortola. The dedication, talent, and imagination of a troupe of sixty volunteers—choreographers, dancers, organizers, gymnasts, technicians, jugglers, acrobats, and clowns, from high school students to retirees—shined through, inevitably resulting in these moments of elation.

Performers strike a pose during last year’s event. All photos by Anya Brewley-Schultheiss. This year’s RINGMASTER, with performances on April 13, 14, 20, and 21, promises to be bolder, brighter, and even more blissful. The Cada Players, who organize the show, have taken over UP’s Crystal Ballroom—an appropriate setting for such a grand production that is part circus, part dance, part play and part concert. The show has reinvented itself since last year’s debut, thanks in part to the new venue at UP’s Cineplex. “We don’t have any space restrictions,” organizer Sarah Penney said, “so we can run and leap and stretch out in new ways.” In addition to the dancing, acting, juggling, roller skating, and hula hooping, the show will feature original music performed by Dalan Vanterpool, Akim Johnson, and Oren Hodge.

“Dalan has composed some amazing pieces specifically for this show, and I honestly can’t stop humming them even when we’re not rehearsing,” Sarah said. She mentioned other additions to this year’s production, including an aerial acrobat, more dramatic scenes, and, of course, new dance numbers. “By now, you’d think I wouldn’t be surprised by the talent and dedication of our local BVI artists—all of whom are full-time professionals or students—but they still astonish me with their willingness to so kindly and competently volunteer to share their gifts,” she said.

Besides providing an uplifting, moving experience to audiences of all ages, proceeds from ticket sales benefit Hands On Volunteers, a BVI charitable initiative that operates Harmony House in Haiti where fourteen children left homeless by the 2010 earthquake are given food, shelter, education and care. The organization also sends volunteers to Port au Prince every few months. These teams provide enrichment programs to help the children develop the life skills needed to become Haiti’s new leaders.

Tickets for RINGMASTER are available at Tortola Express, Vanterpool Pharmacy and UP’s Cineplex, and also from any cast member. For more information regarding tickets, sponsorship or volunteering, write to [email protected], go to www.dancebvi.org,  or ring Sarah & Joanne Penney at (284) 494-2324. For more information on Hands On Volunteers, visit www.handsonvolunteers.org.

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