Sun | Sep 24, 2017

A stellar performance for NDTC 55th

Published:Thursday | July 27, 2017 | 7:00 AMMarcia Rowe
The Crossing, choreographed by Rex Nettleford.
The Crossing, choreographed by Rex Nettleford.
Minutes and seconds, choreographed by Kerry-Ann Henry and Momo Sanno.
Minutes and seconds, choreographed by Kerry-Ann Henry and Momo Sanno
Beres on Love, choreographed by Marlon Simms
‘Gerrehbenta’, choreographed by Rex Nettleford.
Gerrehbenta, choreographed by Rex Nettleford
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National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) at 55 was on full display as it celebrated its 55th anniversary season of dance over the weekend.

Against the background of a well designed backdrop, costumes, props and set, the concert was brought to life with dances choreographed by Rex Nettleford, Marlon Simms, Kerry-Ann Henry and Momo Sanno. Each element lifted by an exemplary group of energised new generation of dancers.

According to NDTC choreographer Clive Thompson, "These guys did every step of every movement of every dance."

This mirroring was especially noticeable in Nettleford's masterworks, The Crossing (1978) and Gerrehbenta (1983).

The Crossing, was the curtain opener. When the red velvet curtains of the Little Theatre opened, the fully costumed 21st century dancers were a vision of meticulousness. In clarity in formation and styles, they danced effortlessly to tell the tale of happy days in Africa to the traumatic life of plantation America.

So it was with the high energy and hypnotic Gerrehbenta, a fitting closure for the programme too. Again, the celebratory classical selection was treated with respect by the young generation of dancers. They danced Nettleford's master work with conviction and beauty.

Simms 2016 choreographed romantic dance drama, Beres on Love was the most contemporary. It was dedicated to the late set designer, Michael Lorde, who designed the set with a bar, DJ area, tables and chairs. Each item was effectively utilised to create an atmosphere of a night out. Selected songs of Jamaican vocalists Beres Hammond moved the story along. And the NDTC singers added to the ambiance of the setting with their live performance.

The orchestra and singers, under the directorship of Ewan Simpson, delivered the only new work on the programme. This came in the form of Simpsons' feet stomping and head shaking arrangement, Emerald Lights.