THE National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) is ready for its 50th anniversary season which opens at the Little Theatre in St Andrew tomorrow night.
The season features a staggering 17-piece repertoire to be performed over the next four weekends.
Among the works being presented are 15 remounts of NDTC favourites, as well as two new pieces.
The company's artistic director Barry Moncrieffe told Splash that the Golden Jubilee celebrations is a marvellous thing for the group. He said he never thought he would live to experience such a milestone, having been one of the company's founding members.
"All the glory really has to go to the team, the dancers and support staff who have really given their all to make this special," he said. "This year, we are looking back, drawing from the past as well as presenting some new works."
One of the season's special moments is the return of former principal dancer Melanie Graham as a guest performer.
"We approached Melanie to appear in one of the all-time NDTC favourites, The Crossing. We then decided to remount Bert Rose's Edna M, and she agreed to appear in both," Moncrieffe explained.
"She was, however, very specific that she had to be up to standard... we are very pleased to have her back."
And what of a Golden Jubilee celebration without founder and former artistic director, Professor Rex Nettleford, who died in February, 2010.
Moncrieffe paused, shook his head, then responded:
"We spoke at length just before he took his last trip, about the vision he had for the company. He wanted us to maintain 'Caribbeaness' [and] not [look] like a North American or European dance company. I know he would be pleased at what this crop is doing."
When Splash viewed the rehearsals on Tuesday evening, the two works, Edna M and Sulkari by Cuban choreographer Eduardo Riviera, were being fine-tuned.
Choreographer Bert Rose took both Melanie Graham and Kerry Ann Henry through their paces in Edna M opposite dance captain Marlon Simms. For Sulkari, Riviera was unable to make it to Jamaica, so he sent his grandson to oversee the remount.
For tomorrow's opening, five works have been selected.
These include Nettleford's The Crossing and Kumina; ...Minutes and Seconds choreographed by Kerry Ann Henry and Momo Sanno, Sulkari and Urban Fissure choreographed by Chris Walker.