NDTC continues legacy

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, April 21, 2014    

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CHOREOGRAPHER Bert Rose's 1997 work Steal Away, was among the works to hold centre stage at the annual Morning of Music and Movement organised by the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) at the Little Theatre in St Andrew, yesterday.

The work — performed in tribute to Eddy Thomas, the co-founder of the NDTC who died just over a week ago at the age of 82 — featured ballet mistress Kerry-Ann Henry in the lead role and supported by Marlon Simms, Mark Phinn, Stefanie Thomas and Terry-Ann Dennison. Not only was it choreographed by one of the founding members of the company (Rose), it also featured the strong fusion of dance styles which Thomas was known for.

On the occasion of the 33rd staging of the Easter Sunday showcase, the NDTC pulled from the repertoire as well as works by dancer/choreographers from within the company.

These included Marlon Simms' Legacy, a spirited work set to African drumming; Patrick Earle's Turning Point — a piece befitting for the Easter season featuring a trio of male dancers. Keita-Marie Chamberlain's Unconditional Love was appreciated by the audience thanks to the interpretation by Tamara Noel and Patrick Earle and the highly emotive accompanying music. Renowned choreographer Clive Thompson's reflective solo The Question was delivered in fine style by Kevin Moore.

However, the morning's real standout was a performance by soloist Samantha Thompson.

Her robust, gutsy vocals provided accompaniment for Neisha-yen Jones' Stagnant Change. So gripping was Thompson's performance that many were more taken by her, rather than the dancers. An extended applause at the end of the piece showed the audience's appreciation.

It was also a morning of music and the NDTC Singers under the direction of Ewan Simpson did their part to keep the patrons entertained. From the opening note — Handel's Hallelujah Chorus accompanied by steel pan — things only got better. The interactive nature of the presentation of Oh Happy Day with soloist Conrad Hall, brought the performance to the people, as the singers lined the aisles of the theatre and greeted members of the audience. There were clear references to Pharrell Williams' current feel good hit track Happy in this performance.

As is customary, Noel Dexter's arrangement of Psalm 150 was a fitting climax to the one and a half hours of solid, sacred entertainment.





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