Style Observer

'Reflection, Celebration & Continuity'

Sunday, July 30, 2017

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For the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, 2017 is a pivotal year for the ensemble founded in 1962 by pioneers Professor Rex Nettleford and Eddy Thomas. First there is the excitement of their 55th anniversary and also, the recognition of the final year of Barry Moncrieffe's tenure as artistic director.

Under its latest theme, 'Reflection, Celebration and Continuity' and the additional direction of associate artistic director Marlon Simms and musical director Ewan Thompson, the Company is maintaining a balance between a few newly mounted works — namely Chris Walker's Dis Connections and Tony Wilson's Rebellious — and the crowd-pleasing masterworks of Nettleford, including Gerrehbenta (1983) and Kumina (1971).

Not to be underestimated is the new era-spanning suite of music and songs arranged by Thompson and performed by the Company's singers and orchestra, titled Emerald Lights, playing on the emerald anniversary milestone.

Kicking off its annual Season of Dance, the Company wooed performing arts devotees to the Little Theatre Friday last for its traditional gala and cocktails whilst the following night's hosting duties fell to the arts & culture blog Patoo, which underwrote the evening, dubbed Patoo Clicks & Connects, to benefit tertiary-level scholarships for students in the creative sector. SO looks back on the double-header weekend of dance culture and dance appreciation.

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