NDTC takes over Florida
NDTC dancers doing one of their dramatic pieces.

IN keeping with Jamaica's 60th year of Independence celebrations, National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) — in an effort to mark the milestone — returned to Florida after 15 years to host a trifecta of performances.

"The experience has just been wonderful here. We've had so many events. We had a great church service, flag-raising session, motorcade, with over 300 cars, a concert, a gala…a street dance. This NDTC event which is being spearheaded by the Louise Bennett Heritage Council took one year of preparation under the leadership of Mr Colin Smith and his committee. It is definitely one of the highlights of Jamaica 60 celebrations. Once we mention Jamaica, it is worth celebrating and everybody wants to join in," Counsul General Oliver Mair told the Jamaica Observer.

The performance commenced on Saturday at the Miami Dade Cultural Arts Centre before heading to the Miramar Cultural Centre on Sunday. Monday, they treated schoolchildren to free performances at the location.

"It was excellent. We had a full house and the patrons were well placed. We had a standing ovation at the end and there was good synergy between the NDTC dancers and audience," he said.

The group has maintained a high standard over the years, which Mair says was evident at the first showcase on Saturday.

According to him, the first show saw 900 patrons while Sunday's show exceeded the 700 mark.

Dr Rita Marley, widow of reggae king Bob Marley, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. To add to that, there will be a scholarship named after her, which will be presented to a student at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew.

"The singers did a suite of songs for Rita Marley and it was even better since she was there. Proceeds from the show will go towards scholarships for students at Edna Manley. The Louise Bennett Heritage Council in association with the consulate here will be giving those scholarships and one will be named the Dr Rita Marley Scholarship," Mair said.

He added that the slew of Jamaica 60 celebrations have been adding visibility to the country's brand within the Diaspora.

"My experience has been that people love Jamaica. When you mention Jamaica, it conjures up good memories of Dunn's River, Blue Mountain coffee, jerked chicken, and it tends to open doors. We know the challenges that we have out there, but we can't discount the fact that people feel irie and they want to celebrate with you," he said.

NDTC was founded in 1962 by Rex Nettleford and Eddy Thomas.

Members of National Dance Theatre Company going through their paces at the Miramar Cultural Centre in Florida on Sunday.
NDTC dancers in action.
NDTC dancers in performance
A section of the audience at the Miramar Cultural Arts Centre in Florida on Sunday
President of the Louise Bennett Heritage Council Colin Smith (left) with Counsul General Oliver Mair
Kediesha Perry

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