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I received an invitation from a friend inviting me to the Edna Manley School of Dance Faculty in Concert titled “Physical Labrish…Reflections of the Moving Mind”.

For my international readers the word ‘labrish’ in the Jamaican culture means to gossip or to chitchat.

When I received the invitation I made up my mind in earnest to attend this concert. One, I have not been to many and since I am free why not? That same evening I had a group meeting for my Supervisory Management course which was near the dance school. I was late because of my group meeting but I could not miss it. I literally ran to the venue, paid the entry fee and walked right in, head upright as if I were early.

Looking back, I have been to a concert at Edna Manle before but it was in a different studio. The Dennis Scott Studio the venue for the concert was exquisite. I liked the interior, very modern. It made their presentation look credible. They utilised a huge projector and lighting to enhance their routines, which was pleasing to the eye. I will not continue to describe the aesthetic appeal but just to say, the stage without the dancers was good.

The faculty concert was dedicated to the late Professor the Honourable Rex Nettleford, O.M., O.C.C., F.I.J., who has been integral to the dance community in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. He was a Jamaican Scholar, choreographer and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at the University of the West Indies. In 1963 he founded the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, a respected ensemble which he led until he passed away.

Of the pieces I saw I could not decide on a favourite. I loved all of them. They each had something that you could connect with and appreciate.

To begin with the show had to be good. The dancers are lecturers in their field at the dance institution. How can they fail?

One of my favourites of the night was a piece entitled “Today and Tomorrow” choreographed by Arsenio Andrade-Calderon. It was very short but essentially he prepared for the rain. He sat on stage on a chair with his umbrella while dancers walked on stage opening water bottles one by one and pouring the liquid on his umbrella. It was a very reflective piece. After the pouring of the water which signified the rain he then closed the umbrella and walked out signalling the rain had ended – tomorrow.

I thought the piece could have been better presented if better use of the lighting was done. To signal the clouds and the initial preparations for the rain, the set could have been dark while brighter lights could signal the tomorrow which came after the dark moments. However the interpretation, the point was made.

The concert ended with everyone laughing. The final piece entitled”Of Tensions and Dilemma” brought to life through dance the struggles the lecturers encounter in their normal day-to-day activities as dance facilitators. The choreography began with teachers in traffic and the drama that comes with that – horrible bus drivers, persons walking on the streets etc. If you take public transportation you can appreciate it but more so Jamaican public transportation. The piece was hilarious, it included the struggles teachers go through with administration issues and student lackadaisical attitudes to education.

I could not end without telling you about my favourite Jamaican dancer, Neila Ebanks. She danced in many pieces at the concert but the two I enjoyed her in were entitled “The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margeret” and “Their work song…a moving musical soundtrack for making it through”. The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margeret was an excellent piece in terms of its production and execution. It began with Neila Ebanks on a video presentation and her obsessive compulsive behaviour to edgings/lines. The video presentation showed her entering the dance studio which was cut to show her continue her compulsive behaviour on stage. This piece showed some thought went on into its production. Leaving the stage the video presentation continued with her leaving the studio and Sister Mitzie Margeret continuing her behaviour on the outside (on video).

Based on the attendee’s reactions the concert was well received. The concert ran for the full weekend. I was their on the final night – Sunday and it was almost full house. Only some seats were empty (limited) which I think the organizers can take some compliments. I will be attending more Dance Concerts here – the quality is good.

However, I think the dancers here should take care of themselves. Jamaica has a culture where we think fat is attractive and in terms of dancing, the shapes and lines are so important that leading a healthy lifestyle is imperative to the visual senses. As I mentioned before I was not there for the beginning of the show and was aware of any states rules. I took my camera to take pictures. During the show I noticed no one was taking photos apart from the official media team. I did not want to be reprimanded so I did not.  However, I snapped a private camera phone shot and after that I noticed the persons beside me started to tape the show. This was at the end. After that, I took out my digital camera to snap the photos you see below. I am happy I did. The teachers gave a good show. I am happy the students have good role models to follow.

Faculty Members

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X Factor Finals

The X Factor is the best talent show ever with the biggest production. The staging makes American Idol look silly and childish. I watched the finals through a link on the internet on Sunday afternoon. I was not only impressed but I was overwhelmed by the production and the staging. From the lights, to the glitz that was on the show, it really exposes the contestants to what the world of stardom and having a house screaming at you offers. Talk about nerves! So there were two guys in the finals this year. They were Olly and Joe and boy did they rock it. They are two different artistes with two different ranges. The moment I heard Joe McElderry sang the first note I tweeted that his voice was simply magnificent, young and fresh. Enjoy his winning song, titled The Climb and it is inspiring.

Miss World 2009

This was by far the worst production of Miss World in years and I was not impressed. I could have missed the show and wouldn’t have felt bad about it. I did not like the fact that the girls were entertaining the crowd. Come on, use established names and singers to do that. The girls have enough nerves dealing with just coming on stage. The production had the best talents on show – although we might think that’s cool – it is tacky. I liked the ending so much it was like bringing the old version of Miss World back and it worked. The ending was simply the best part for me. I did not like all the drumming by the South Africans but guess what if that is your culture, show it off. I would have liked more diversity in the offering.

Paddy Jones

This next video is simply breath taking. Expect the unexpected. The video surrounds Paddy Jones who is 75 years old and still can deliver a performance that rivals the winner of Dancing with the Stars and all the other talent competitions around the place. I wish this old lady all the best. You will expect bones to break at her age but she makes it look easy, although it is not.

Precious – Review

This movie has been out for a while now and it was on my heart to watch. I think being from the black race made me even more want to watch the movie. Living in a developing country and seeing the realities here in some ways connect with the realities the movie projects from the plot in Precious.

The movie Precious is produced by Oprah Winfrey. The movie is based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Precious has been receiving many accolades since it was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The story is gruesome, gut wrenching, emotional because it tells a tale that is reality but we hide the stories. I am happy this film was produced because it is a story worth telling. The actors in the film are outstanding, some more than others.

Precious will receive some Oscar nominations but the biggest will be Mo’Nique who plays a pivotal role in the play. She was amazing from the beginning to the end. She starts out being very aggressive, demanding, abusive towards Precious but she gets some heart by the end of the movie.

It is worth watching. Precious is a school girl who is on Welfare and happens to be having her second child (with her own father) and is forced to attend a special school. At this school, she meets other girls who lead troubled lives just like her. One of the girls is from a Jamaican background. This character acted out to the tee preconceived images of Jamaicans who move to the United States. Personally, I was not thrilled with her depiction of Jamaicans but it is like black people who complain why the image of them eating fried chicken is always in their face. There is more to Jamaica than cursing ‘bombo’ and dancing which is in the movie.

Precious is not the movie that is slow to build. It moves pretty fast which they could have slowed down. Most people would have heard that the movie will make you cry but it moves so fast, you do not get that opportunity. We will never get tired of abusive parents but this move shows the real after effects of abusive families.

I did not like the music. I think it lacked that punch the movie needed. With better choices maybe I would have cried.

My rating is four stars out of five. It is not a stellar movie, the story shouts at you more.

Let me first start out by saying I was on Nationwide Radio in Kingston, Jamaica promoting an expo. I am the Event Officer for the expo. I didn’t want to appear on the programme but I eventually did. People who listened to the broadcast expressed that they were impressed and liked the delivery.

I have a personal issue that I will be working on. My demeanour does not speak of my potential and abilities. I hope I am expressing myself well. Most people who know me do not really KNOW ME. I appear to be reserved, laid back, unenergetic and conservative. Although that may be true, I have the ability to turn on the energy when needed. Some folks today call it an alter ego. I may be reserved but when the opportunity presents itself I turn into a total different person full of energy and life. It causes people who will offer opportunities to hold back because they don’t know what I am truly capable of.

I am a talented young man who is really underutilised in my job. So today, when I turned on the alter ego (no name for that person yet) my boss was really overwhelmed and seemed particularly impressed with my delivery. I want to get to the place where I turn it on all the time. I just hope I won’t turn people off.
You can’t have your cake and eat it, I guess.

Dancing with the Stars

Last night I watched the finale of the Dancing with the Stars. It was an entertainment night, filled with excitement and of course the revelation of the winner of the season. It was a surprise to see Donny Osmond win over Mya. I really think with all my heart that Mya would have taken the trophy home. I wanted to see her win. Her dance routine not ignoring her partner were always excellent and it reflects the perfect scores she received in the season.

However, the point must be noted that the core target audience may just have voted more for the winner. Clearly, if the winner was decided on the fact of delivery over the season then Mya would have won. Some people would argue that Kelly should have won based on the fact that she was the most improved. The fact is voting process was used and sometimes it isn’t fair.

 

My Favourite MYA

 

 

So of course, with Donny winning someone else would have taken the night. Whitney Houston was simply fantastic. I will only say this – her addictions may have affected her voice but she certainly can still deliver a great performance. Her songs on the night, I am still on cloud nine over it. Sorry! The videos are posted below for your viewing. The last song on the first video is one of my favourites from Houston so you could imagine my excitement and jumping in the house when she started to sing it. I have also posted a video of the song “I wana dance with somebody” from Whitney Houston back in the days. I have posted it because this is the real performance of the song. Enjoy.

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Water Cooler Ed. 11

Welcome to the eleventh edition in the series of the Water Cooler – appears every Sunday on this blog. This feature will highlight what’s hot, topical and up for discussion.

Here we go.

I think this is a great idea – endorsing a blog. This is a blog for all fashion lovers. enjoy http://londonlouie.blogspot.com/

Politics

I love education and support lifelong learning. Just after completing my undergraduate degree I am looking to pursue higher education. Not because it is an opportunity to take advantage of but I appreciate the benefits of education. Graduating in a recession is painful. Job opportunities are not forthcoming the way you would intend it to be and your bills just pile up. Education is so important that without so many people are left behind. They are left behind not because they want to be underdeveloped but because of so many other reasons.

 

Cost

It costs so much to get an education today. To think that governments support this type of structure is shocking when they are so corrupt in their own ways. Nations that begin to accept education as the way forward think differently and treat their people differently. Everyday I wish education was free. I have so many friends back home in rural (country) Jamaica that have the potential but because they can’t afford higher education, it holds them back. This causes some people to think ‘oh they want to be like that’ but they don’t. They genuinely cannot afford millions of dollars for the basic qualification for an entry level job in the field they would study in.

I cannot fathom to think what it is like to live in a country where education is free. I cannot fathom to think what it is like to be accepted to a school without paying those ridiculous fees!

To think all of this can be made right if the proper investments and structures are in place makes me flabbergasted. It is time education be made free. Give everyone the chance to rise.

Thanks Oprah for giving young, bright kids a chance in Africa.

Entertainment

Speaking of Oprah, she made a huge revelation on her show last week that she will be ending her contract to start her own venture – a network.

What Oprah has done in her lifetime is a tremendous accomplishment. She has been an inspiration to not only those of her race but to others all over the world. I read some articles online which questioned the hype around this announcement. Just remember it’s Oprah. She even endorsed Barack Obama. Some would argue a key endorsement for the women vote.

Oprah has been an agent for inspiration for many people. For what she has done is huge, great, big. She is larger than life. I must say I appreciate her work as a presenter and anyone who aspires to be in that industry or area of work would look to Oprah for inspiration. Give it to her. Doing that for 25 years is a tonne of work. It is a happy feeling leaving it when you are at the top. Let’s not forget she will not be going away in retirement now, she is just gearing up to make some more money and continue the legacy she has started.

Love & Relationship

Couples today have so much going on and finding the time to bond can be a hassle. The tip for this week is to find time to communicate. Try communicating just before going to bed or before getting out of bed.

Photo of the Week

You will never guess what this is? I will reveal it to the person who comments and gets it correct. This is my friend’s photo – actual image.

I downloaded the Blackberry WordPress App. I find it to be very user friendly. I have gotten the full hang of it yet but I intend to use it to post new topics on my blog.

This is really refreshing since I am having a bad day at work.lol Thanks WordPress for delivering on this App. Love it.

You know my blog is about advancement of the human race. Technology changing our lives daily. What’s next?

Leadership

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. – Peter F. Drucker

leadership-risesmart

Universities and work places are trail blazers in regards to team work. Many companies have teamwork as a pillar of success in their organizational structure. One cannot leave undergraduate school or any school at all these days without taking part in teamwork activities. I have been on many teams in and since leaving university. Working with others can be a hard deal for some people. This happens because a team member may want to complete all the tasks and not share the duties to accomplish the goal. Teams can be misguided and can lose focus on the end result. That’s where leaders come in. They take charge and lead the team in delegating roles and duties and ensure that deadlines are met. If budgets are involved, a leader is critical to ensure that funds are allocated to specific areas and that spending isn’t out of hand.

The absence a real leader can be felt by those who know the purpose of one. When a leader is not on a project the team members are left to their own discretions. This can be fatal to the success of a project. There is a fundamental gap that a leader fills. When a leader is present, his/her presence is felt and if the leader is effective, the project will be successful. But not all leaders are effective. This drives the discussion whether a leader is born or made. I cannot decide because leaders are born with characteristics that makes them great leaders while proper leadership skills can be taught. Education plays a critical role and education changes attitude and people’s lives.

In the life of any project, there is a period known as ‘crunch time.’ Crunch time is that period where all the different aspects should now be coming together to make one, to achieve that one objective. At this point, no mistakes can be made. If mistakes are made and are hard to be corrected then it puts the purpose, the project in limbo, great jeopardy. Projects sometimes face this critical moment and having a leader is important. That one person who can remain calm when the storm is at its peak, that level headed individual who can call the shots and ensure team members remain focused on the gaol. It isn’t easy as a leader because at this moment you can lose it and become angry at team members who are slack and are not pulling their weight. There is a thin line to tread because leaders should know how to communicate to team members so that team morale isn’t lost and the synergy remains at its highest point.

The attitude a leader shows to the success of the project speaks volume. Team members want to know that the same passion they have for the success of the project the leader has that or even more. There is a popular phrase that says, attitude determines your altitude. That is relevant for a team because the attitude, that drive, the positive energies shown towards the project by the leader and some team members will inspire those who haven’t got the idea that hey I should be working hard to make this a success. Within the attitude of team members there is an important variable called personality.

Each team member is different and must be treated differently. Team members all show different qualities; some are shy, introverts, extroverts, creative etc. A leader should be able to create that balance that will allow the group to feel like one team. The leader’s role is very crucial as the team member who is shy should be able to express him/herself so that the team can benefit. Who knows? That shy individual could have a creative mind that will make the concept amazing. The leader cannot isolate persons because of his/her attitude. That may turn people away or restrain them from playing a positive role. Conflict resolution is an aspect of teamwork that is a pain. Members of the group should not always have conflicts but apparently if conflicts don’t arise there is no group. Traditionally, we have come to expect that at certain moments team members will be upset with each other. Leaders should never have to comment on every conflict that arises but those that will develop into bigger issues must be tackled from the start and resolved.

Using the best talents on a project can be an equation for failure. But leaders should be able to use these resources at their advantage to create a wonderful outcome. If the project is to perform, produce a presentation etc the final output must be flawless. Group work is designed to get the best out of more. Majority of persons will admit working in a group is certainly better than working on your own. However, a group can be a disaster. Groups must believe that achieving perfection is important.

Leadership isn’t for anyone. It takes a great deal of work to be good at it. Your communications ability, organizational skills, leadership, analytical skills are all tested to produce a product that all can be proud of. The best leaders for sure are those that are able to take directions. If your attitude is always against those in charge, leadership may not be for you. If your attitude is to see things run in order, achieve perfection you may want to improve on your skills to make outputs greater.

This article was inspired based on prior experience working with people on various projects. It is not easy and can be very difficult. Team members all have a role to play in a project. But one cannot isolate the effectiveness or the relevance of having an effective leader.

Brand Management

I enjoy the finer things in life, can I say fabulous. I enjoy these things because I appreciate the concept of marketing. Marketing is integral to every business and any entity, person, thing that can incorporate basic marketing concepts will be successful. I studied marketing in university and this is an area that I am passionate about but it’s an area that is highly underestimated by so many.

Every product you see out there needs management. Most managers who manage them are called Brand Managers. The role of these managers is simply to apply the concepts of marketing, to increase the product’s perceived value to the customer, brand equity and most of all to remain profitable.

This form of management is not only relevant to products it transcends in all areas. More than ever entertainers are using marketing to build an image for their market and to improve on the appeal they have. I am passionate about this area simply because when the concepts are applied it works miraculously.

Beyonce

Beyonce

I appreciate artistes like Beyonce because her management clearly understands that she is a brand and everything her management does is in line with this. I am not a great fan of the music but you cannot ignore the powerhouse that she is. From the clothing, to the performance, to her persona and image on stage everything must be right. Entertainers who grasp this will always be successful knowing that they produce creative, great music. The music industry is a challenging one with so many players in it. The challenge to top performances and create music that people will listen to is understandably remarkable. If you look at Beyonce’s performance each time, everything is done live, with amazing lighting, back-up dancers, singers, clothing. Everything ties in to create the person we know today as Beyonce.

D'Angel

D'Angel

I live in a developing island, Jamaica and this is the birth place of reggae and dancehall music. Some artistes here understand marketing. Sean Paul and Beenie Man are just two that understands what it is to have that full package. If artistes here understand the power of having an image of quality, and ensuring the music has quality and is current, they can be huge stars. They may not be a MJ, U2 but they will have a following that will always plummet them to huge successes in the music industry. You may say funding and having the money is important. This is critical but this is not a limitation because entertainers today more than ever are making it. Therefore, put in the investment and you will see the returns. The world will be at your fingertips.

D’angel image forms part of this blog because I think she is the only current dancehall artistes who shows she is understanding the concept of marketing. She is featured on many shows locally and internally. Kudos to her. Keep up the good work. She will tell you she has not reached where she wants to go but clearly if she keeps focus on her image and production of quality music the sky is the limit.

The Quest to find love?

If you live in the world (which we all do), we are bombarded with advertisements surrounding the topic of finding love. Nowadays, people search in various places to find love. More than ever individuals are going online to search for the perfect one. Whether it is on e-harmony or match or MySpace we are desperate for the ultimate one. But how far would you go to find perfect love?

Reality television has highlighted the fact that people go on quests to find the real one and have created these amazing shows some incredible some fall flat but the main aim is to highlight the extreme levels of finding love.

silhouettedcoupleRecently, I saw a promo for a new program showing fabulous plus size girls seeking love. What was interesting is that the person I was watching television was grossed out because the person didn’t want to see fluffy girls seek love in this format on television. I made the point quickly that obese girls need love too. What made it unique was traditionally we only see slim, size zero girls on these reality shows seeking love. It makes it very weird for some people now seeing plus size girls on their quest on main stream media.

How far is too far?

Would you go in a dark room to find love? Would you join a dating site to find love?

A new program to hit the ABC network will have couples move in a house and the dating process would all take place in the dark. However, what happens in the dark would be revealed in the light as the couples would see each other for the first time. Some would be grossed out; I guess the others would like what they see.

I like the fact that people are getting out there to find love. I like the fact that we are finding unique ways to do so. Traditionally, people date by being introduced to friends and date by networking in your own circle. Things and times are changing and people are getting with it. It is no longer weird to date in a dark room, on the job, on the internet or even speed dating. Finding love is now the focus of most people. Individuals want to share their lives with someone special and unique.

To find that unique person, how far would you go? Is finding love on the internet weird for you or we all have come to accept this form of dating?

Share your views!

I have written many Michael Jackson articles, I hope my readers will not get weary. I keep writing about him or referring to him because he did a lot for many people and he touched many lives as well. Most persons only know of the various accusations against him. I wanted to write an article about people giving back and what better man to refer to than the Entertainer of all time, the king of pop – who gave back to so many charities worldwide – Michael Jackson.

The Guinness Book of World Records in the 2000 edition listed Michael Jackson as having the record for supporting the most charities – all of 39. These donations have come in the form of monetary donations through sponsorships or by participating in their silent auctions. Below is a list of all the charities that benefited from Michael Jackson.

  • AIDS Project L.A.
  • American Cancer Society
  • Angel Food
  • Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles
  • BMI Foundation, Inc.
  • Brotherhood Crusade
  • Brothman Burn Center
  • Camp Ronald McDonald
  • Childhelp U.S.A.
  • Children’s Institute International
  • Cities and Schools Scholarship Fund
  • Community Youth Sports & Arts Foundation
  • Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)
  • Dakar Foundation
  • Dreamstreet Kids
  • Dreams Come True Charity
  • Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation
  • Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
  • Love Match
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • Minority Aids Project
  • Motown Museum
  • NAACP
  • National Rainbow Coalition
  • Rotary Club of Australia
  • Society of Singers
  • Starlight Foundation
  • The Carter Center’s Atlanta Project
  • The Sickle Cell Research Foundation
  • Transafrica
  • United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
  • United Negro College Fund Ladder’s of Hope
  • Volunteers of America
  • Watts Summer Festival
  • Wish Granting
  • YMCA – 28th Street/Crenshaw
  • This is a man who could have squandered his earnings on women or the many other things that were around him but he found the time and heart to donate part of his earnings to the various charities worldwide. Even on his will part of his earnings will go to the work to keep doing good in our communities. How many people do we know that when they die stipulate in their wills that charities should benefit from their lives? This is what some people refer to as having a ‘good heart’.

    This giving is even emphasized by companies; they dub it ‘Social Responsibility’. The many companies who keep giving back must be congratulated for it. It is so ironic that companies who give back to communities always want a huge media following to report on the little good they do. It is all a stunt. Companies who give to charities in silence are the real heroes of our time. I hate to see when businesses fail to sponsor events, failing to see the benefits they can gain long term.

    Michael Jackson’s song Man in the Mirror is an amazing song that underlines this point of starting with the man in the mirror, me. The song invites listeners to analyze themselves asking ‘Who am I to be blind?’ to today’s problems.

    We are all one people. Oops! Some people see the world differently, some people see races and classes but we are all one. Some persons cannot give cash, or items but if we cannot afford that we can share love to those who need it.

    Companies who make billions and millions of profits annually all celebrate and watch as people beg a little bit more, while the poverty level continues to rise. We have a responsibility to the world and the environment. Michael Jackson who some may only know him to abuse drugs in his death will be remembered as man who gave willingly to the less fortunate. He looked on the man in the mirror and made that change. So as we move on with our lives and join companies and even start our own, remember the lyrics of one of my favourite MJ Hits – Man in the Mirror.

    Below is a video I found on http://www.youtube.com with the co-writer of the song Man in the Mirror Siedah Garrett giving a tribute to Michael Jackson. Take a listen….The song is touching as she reflects on the life of Michael Jackson.

    I had to include this other video, the original, nothing hits home better.