Lifestyle

My Kingston — Marlon Simms July 23

Sunday, July 23, 2017

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National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC) Associate Artistic Director & Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts Education Board of Studies Chair and Director of Studies — School of Dance

What are your earliest memories of Kingston?

Busy streets, street lights, people on the move, wide roads with more than two lanes.

What's the most memorable meal that you have enjoyed in Kingston?

Pasta with shrimp and chicken.

What would you do if you were mayor of Kingston for a day?

I would organise a day filled with events showcasing the best of Kingston through the arts, culture, entertainment, education and tourism; I would seek to expose its hidden treasures.

What would be your recommendations to a first-time visitor to Kingston?

Go to the theatre to see local productions and tuck into fish at Gloria's Seafood in Port Royal. Visit Devon House, Emancipation Park (especially if there's a major event), the Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts (it's the only one of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean), the Bob Marley Museum, Hope Gardens & Zoo, the National Gallery of Jamaica, Ward Theatre and the National Stadium (where history in athletics is made). Go shopping downtown and at the Coronation Market and dine at some of the finest restaurants. And experience the city's nightlife, and the Hip Strip/Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston — there is always something happening.

What is the enduring legacy of Professor Rex Nettleford, the late artistic director of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica and vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies, on arts and culture in the region?

The volume of his research and thought-provoking works expressed through literature, choreography, institutional developmemt, particularly through the NDTC, and his strong advocacy for the affirmation, development and excellence of arts and culture.

How can collective identity be explored through movement?

Under laboratory conditions within a dance space where the main aim is to analyse, deconstruct, experiment, distil and create and shape movement vocabulary from rhythmic and movement patterns of a people.

Which choreographer has had the most influence on your work as an academic, dancer and choreographer?

Professor Rex Nettleford.

Which ballet or dance piece to date has the ability to move you everytime you see it and why?

Nettleford's Tintinnabulum (1997) as I can identify with elements of the story that is told of a group of friends growing up and dying together under the watchful eyes of their mothers and the rest of the community.

In the world of the performing arts is there an intersection at which high art and mass entertainment can meet comfortably?

There are always creative possibilities and opportunities that allow an artist to never lose the interest of a diverse audience based on what they believe is the main aim of their work. The intersection is derived from an understanding of the multiplicity of perspectives and objectives.

Is vulnerability the most authentic state for any artist?

Perhaps. Vulnerability reveals truth and the soul of an artist, especially if there is an understanding that expressions which are genuine, open and pure can touch, move or reach an audience.

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