Wed | Aug 17, 2022

Expectations high as final preparations underway for 'mother of all Grand Galas'

Published:Friday | August 5, 2022 | 6:17 PM
The show has been expanded for this year and will be featuring numerous talents such as singers, dancers, and actors. -Gladstone Taylor photo

Expectations are high for the 2022 Grand Gala, being hyped as the 'mother of all galas' to mark Jamaica's 60th anniversary of Independence from Great Britain.

The show has been expanded for this year and will be featuring numerous talents such as singers, dancers, and actors, many of whom were personally recruited by the artistic director, Michael Holgate.

The show is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. 

Dancers from the L'Acadco: A United Caribbean Dance Force, founded by Dr. L'Antoinette Stines, said they were happy for the opportunity to perform in the Grand Gala and were eager for Saturday. 

“I feel great. I feel like this is another milestone yet again. So, as a dancer to showcase and to give this much of myself and my art to the celebration and to be a part of it, I'm extremely grateful and humble,” said Krista Brathwaite, a dancer from L'Acadco.

De Marey Cohen, a fellow dancer, said it was a good experience for his first year in the company. 

“I think it's something that's very important for Jamaica to be 60 years old and I think it's something that is worth celebrating. So, for me, it's very patriotic and it's something that I feel is very necessary for all Jamaicans to just come out and enjoy,” said Akeem Mignott, an actor in the show.

Singer dBURNZ, also an actor in the show, said that he expected the show to be “nothing but greatness”.

“It's gonna be big. It's the 60th anniversary of Jamaica's Independence and people have bee waiting for this, people have been looking forward to this. So, people a go turn up and a just bare niceness when dem forward,” he said.

Miss United Nations World Toni Ann Lalor, who was at the final rehearsal Friday in support of the dancers, said she was happy with how things were progressing. “I think it's going to be great. So far, I'm very impressed and I think Jamaica's going to love it,” she said.

Holgate said the preparations for the show were going well.

“The rain came a couple times, but apart from that, it's been good. The young people have been excited and ready to come out of COVID and dance again,” he said.

He continued: “I'm expecting that Jamaica will get a good show that represents our Independence celebrations, civic pride, a sense of who we are after 60 years. Not perfect by any specifications but working on it, and using our culture and our creative arts which is the bedrock and foundation of our identity as Jamaican people.”

Holgate  said that he felt honoured to be asked to be the artistic director and to be working with the young people drawn from various communities.

“These are communities all over Kingston, sometimes communities that you would think that there's only violence and those things coming out of them. But, what's coming out of these students is an understanding that when you work with people from where they're at, when you work with people based on their culture, when you work with people based on their understanding of themselves and help them to love one another, we can't go wrong.”

Dr. Stines, one of the choreographers for the show and the director for the section dubbed 'Africa', shared similar sentiments as she lauded the performers and staff.

“Everybody has been working very hard to represent Jamaica well. I'm very proud of the choreographers. I'm very proud of the children especially. The stars are the children…those little kids that go on that stage and do what they do for Jamaica,” she said.

- Sonae Rose

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