Kamar Tucker: one determined dancer

By RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

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Young Dancer Kamar Tucker has truly emerged as one to watch at the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC). He intensity brings choreography to life and assists greatly in telling the stories being showcased during the current season of the NDTC now on stage at the Little Theatre in St Andrew.

However, it was not always a smooth ride for the 25-year-old.

Tucker recalls being drawn to the arts, primarily singing and acting from a very young age. During his years at the Bridgeport High School in St Catherine, The youngster found himself being very active in the music programme at the school, climbing the ranks to even becoming the lead singer of the choir.

But, it would be word about a trip to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for the theatre arts department that would lead Tucker to dance.

"They wanted dancers to go on the trip and I decided to attend the dance classes. When I auditioned, the dance teacher asked me to leave his class and never return... I was bad," he relates. "I went back to the class a few days later and it was the same thing... 'leave the class and don't come back' I was told."

This rejection did nothing to dampen the drive of the then 15-year-old, instead he took this as a challenge.

"I used the summer holidays to stretch myself and take my mind and body where I needed to be in order to get into the class. By September, when I auditioned for the classes I was not sent out, but sent to the back of the class," says a confident Tucker.

As part of the dance company at Bridgeport, Tucker would have a chance meeting with Marlon Simms the current associate artistic director at the NDTC. Simms would encourage the young dancer to hone his skills. Those words of advice would result in Tucker winning best solo dancer at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's festival of the arts in 2005, mere months after starting to dance.

With his high school years over, Tucker sought to further his knowledge of dance and auditioned for the Stella Maris Dance Ensemble, where he would meet 'Toki' Gonzalez, noted Cuban choreographer and NDTC alum.

"At Stella Maris I was introduced to a whole new world of dance with Toki's Afro Cuban techniques and that just opened my eyes to the possibilities that dance could offer. But after performing during the 2010 season, I knew I wanted more"

Classes with the NDTC would become his next stop and he has nothing but the highest praise for the 52-year-old company.

"I have really been welcomed into the fold at the NDTC. Just being around so many persons who have been dancing for years, and yet they are so giving and willing to share is amazing."

His gruelling schedule which often sees him leaving Montego Bay following a day of work at Secrets Resort to attend a rehearsal in Kingston in the evening and then returning to Montego Bay immediately after is testament to his commitment to the art form.

What does he bring to the NDTC?

"I think I bring a different energy. I add something to the to what is already there and I am just very excited to be in the same space with such very talented people."




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