Enthralling: Eric Bean Jr’s ‘Return to Paradise’ showcased Bermudian dancing talent. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Enthralling: Eric Bean Jr’s ‘Return to Paradise’ showcased Bermudian dancing talent. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17: City Hall Theatre staged a powerful performance of modern dance brilliance as Bermudian choreographer Eric Bean Jr presented Return to Paradise.

I attended the opening night of the three-night run and found Nirvana.

The show was an artistic response to the violence that has been ravaging our community and offered in-depth analysis of the effects of violence on love and life, through movement and sound.

The cast was made up of seven Bermudians and two guest dancers, and the show ran just over 90 minutes (including a 10  minute intermission).

The capacity crowd was absorbed by the sheer quality of the performances.

Pieces like Pulse, featuring stellar contributions from Dominique Anderson, Tsilala Graham-Haynes, Rhia Simons, and Fredrika Hill, upped the ante for dance in Bermuda.

Lost and Brothers also delivered a strong dose of male energy, angst and disillusionment.

Charles Way delivered Lost, the production’s only solo, and this merged seamlessly into Brothers, a trio involving Mr Bean, Mr Way and Alex Diaz.

Chemistry

Every piece was delightful, with the duets offering a special thrill. Two of the three duets were performed by Mr Bean and the superb Dawnita Smith.

Hello depicted love anew, a playful romp in the springtime sealed with a kiss on the cheek, while Lies found the lovers more seasoned, jaded and coarse.

The chemistry between Mr Bean and Miss Smith was dazzling, evoking empathy from the audience.

Miss Anderson and Mr Way performed the other duet; a mid-love piece that examined the establishment, growth and maintenance of Trust.

These dancers also exhibited chemistry, delivering an engrossing dance that was as sensual as it was beautiful.

Another notable moment was Pressure, a technically striking piece that found Krystal Smith joining Miss Anderson, Miss Hill, Miss Simons and Miss Graham-Haynes in an all-Bermudian dance masterpiece.

Conflict and Community portrayed mayhem, melancholy and despair, while Hope and Paradise turned communal depression on its head, bringing joy, love and life to the fore.

The message was clear: We want a return to paradise, so the violence must stop. This production must be celebrated as a cherished piece of national Bermudian art.

We all need to be proud of what these young people have achieved here, as Return to Paradise is a world-class tour de force, made in Bermuda.

The capacity crowd showered the cast with a standing ovation on opening night, and I am still applauding. 

Take a bow young artistes — you deserve it.