Rex, Barry and Noel remembered


Rex, Barry and Noel remembered

Observer writer

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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Remembering Rex — the annual event celebrating the late Professor Rex Nettleford — was expanded to include the achievements of late creative stalwarts Barry Moncrieffe and Noel Dexter.

The occasion was held at The Little Theatre in St Andrew last Tuesday.

“It's been a more emotional event for me this year. Last year Barry and Noel were here with me helping behind the stage with the dancers. Had they been here tonight I'm sure they would have been pleased tonight,” said Elizabeth Buchanan-Hind, executive director of The University of the West Indies Institutional Advancement Division.

Dexter died on August 16, 2019, while Moncrieffe passed away on January 16, 2020.

The audience was more than happy with the programme that was divided to highlight the creative contributions of all three. Each section was punctuated by a video presentation and climaxed with their most famous work.

Under the title 'Remembering the Icons', the first third of the show was dedicated to Moncrieffe closing with Unscathed. The lengthy dance had the audience applauding its dramatic complexity. Part two focused on Dexter, starting with his ode to the man-woman dynamic using the sonorous tones of the University Singers. Everytime I Pass, You Tell A Lie, and Man & Woman Story, transitioned seamlessly into each other. It was only outdone by Psalm 150, which was accompanied by the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) of Jamaica to create and acoustic visual treat.

“Their legacy lives on in the performances,” said Buchanan-Hind.

For Nettleford, there was no bigger applause than for one of his signature pieces Kumina. The finale pulled together all the elements he was famous for: the NDTC's dramatic intricate moves interwoven with the driving African beat and traditional vocals as provided by the University Singers proved an intoxicating feast for the audience.

At the end of the evening, Buchanan-Hind was happy with the turnout.

“What I'm most happy with is the wide cross section of persons that came. It wasn't just friends, but young and old who knew his [Nettleford] work.”

The evening wasn't used just to celebrate those that had passed, but up-and-coming talent too. Darien Steele received the Rex Nettleford Foundation Cornwall College Award; Alikah Bernard was honoured as the Rex Nettleford Hall Awardee; and Dwauntea Chambers was awarded the Rex Nettleford Dance Scholarship. To further help the next generation of Jamaican, creative, ethnic talent, Buchanan-Hind added that the foundation is working towards building an amphitheatre on the grounds of the University of The West Indies.

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