It's Simms

Artistic director of the NDTC named

Sunday, February 04, 2018

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Marlon Simms has been confirmed as the new artistic director of National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC).

A Sunday Observer story carried on December 17, 2017, noted that Simms, who was then the associate artistic director, was being tipped for the job, however at the time the NDTC declined to comment, noting that an official announcement would be made at a later date.

The company made the announcement in a statement to the media noting that Simms, who assumed his post in January, becomes the fourth artistic director of the NDTC since it was co-founded by Rex Nettleford and Eddy Thomas with 16 other members in 1962.

The new artistic director expressed that he was honoured and humbled by the appointment.

“I stand on the shoulders of the founders, bridge generation and the many who served after them, and am grateful for the love and support of the members of the company. Their continuing support will keep me anchored in this new role and will keep the NDTC moving forward,” he said.

Simms said his approach to this new role would be in line with what he described as his mantra: “excellence can be achieved if you are driven by passion and purpose”.

“I work really hard, very committed. I believe in excellence and I work really hard to achieve it while making necessary sacrifices along the way. I'm resourceful and very passionate about dance and the NDTC. I'm at times very eager to learn and excited about new things. Once I believe in something I work very hard with passion to achieve it. Passion and purpose drive me to fulfil my goals.”

“I recognise that I'm human and I make mistakes. I can't do it all. I therefore ask for help in my moments of humility. I don't mind constructive criticism at all. In fact, I like getting opinions from those who have the knowledge and understanding. I become reflective and proactive with good advice. I'm very supportive and I have a kind heart. I get excited about new ideas/concepts, things outside the box, inventiveness, and I encourage it. I love teaching, sharing information with the next generation and watching them grow. I love planning and production. I've learned so much over the years, especially because I observe a great deal, research when necessary, engage others in conversation to learn more, and I like trying new things with the hope of succeeding,” he added

Simms also shared as some of his top priorities for the NDTC: to strengthen and develop the technical skills of the company's artists and trainees through a wide range of training and experiences; expand the company's education arm by increasing the number of workshops locally; and a local tour of the company to rural communities.

“As artistic director, I hope to carry on the traditions of the company through its local and overseas performance, with its central focus on exploring, experimenting, interrogating Jamaican and Caribbean movement patterns, music and culture and creating works of excellence comparable to any across the world,” he added.

Speaking to the appointment, the outgoing artistic director Barry Moncrieffe said, “Marlon has worked with great passion and tenacity in several leadership roles within the NDTC over many years. He has been groomed for the role and I know he will do a good job with the support of the rest of the company. I offer hearty congratulations to him and assure him that he has my continuing support.”

Simms joined the NDTC in 1999 as a supporting dancer and quickly established himself as a leading male dancer and promising choreographer. Over 19 years he toured extensively with the company, working his way up to the leadership positions of dance captain in 2006 and associate artistic director in 2014. He is also co-producer of the NDTC Journal and head of the trainee programme and education arm.

Simms is currently director of studies at the School of Dance of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. A past student of St Jago High School, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from The University of the West Indies, a post-graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Technology, Jamaica and a Master of Fine Arts in choreographic theory and practice from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

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