A theatre filled with friends, supporters and alumni of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) gathered on Saturday night to witness the gala season opener commemorating the company's 50th anniversary.
Among those on hand at The Little Theatre in St Andrew were the NDTC's first patron and former prime minister Edward Seaga, former prime minister PJ Patterson, finance minister Dr Peter Phillips and his wife Sandra — a former NDTC dancer and NDTC founding members Briget Spaulding and Bert Rose.
The evening's programme opened with The Crossing Rex Nettleford's 1978 epic. This piece saw the return of former principal dancer Melanie Graham, who is this season's guest performer. In addition to The Crossing, Graham will also alternate the lead role in Bert Rose's Edna M.
This was followed by the tender and powerful ...Minutes and Seconds featuring ballet mistress Kerry-Ann Henry and dance Captain Marlon Simms.
The power, physicality, sexual tension, and spirituality of Afro-Cuban expression was poured lavishly across the Little Theatre stage with the presentation of Eduard Riviero's Sulkari. This work was made more special as the re-mount was supervised by Riviero's grandson who was brought in from Cuba to protect his grandfather's creative expression.
The diversity of the NDTC repertoire was highlighted with the staging of Urban Fissure, a contemporary work set to the words, lyrics and music of reggae king Bob Marley.
The night's programme closed with the iconic NDTC sound. "I want to know, I want to know. There was spontaneous applause as those members of the audience in the know realised that meant Kumina, another of former artistic director, the late Professor Rex Nettleford's classic creations.
The evening's presentation continued in the courtyard of the NDTC's studios with a lavish dinner and dance which featured renowned local show band, Fab 5.