Fri | Apr 19, 2019

NDTC 56th season of dance opens today with new artistic director

Published:Friday | July 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle/Gleaner Writer
The new NDTC artistic director, Marlon Simms in performance.
Former artistic director Barry Moncrieffe (seated) with the new director, Marlon Simms.
Marlon Simms leads a rehearsal in the NDTC dance studio for the new season, which begins tonight.

Earlier this year, the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) announced the appointment of Marlon Simms as its new artistic director. Today, the dance company is scheduled to begin its 56th season of dance, marking Simms' first official season in the role.

Taking up the post in January, Simms became the fourth artistic director of the Company since it was co-founded by the late professor Rex Nettleford and Eddy Thomas in 1962. He succeeds veteran dancer, choreographer, and designer Barry Moncrieffe, who retired at the end of 2017 after 55 years.

Speaking with The Gleaner, the dancer and choreographer could hardly contain his excitement as he expressed gratitude to his pool of dancers for helping him adjust in his new role with ease. Simms says his job, though challenging at times, has been made easier because of the immense talent that exists within the NDTC. "What I like about this season of dance is that you get to see the young people stepping up. They are aware of the legacy of the NDTC, and they are really delivering," he said. He added, "One of the greatest thing about the NDTC is that we give a good show and our dancers know it. They know they have this huge weight to carry, and everyone is working hard, and I'm so proud of them. They are a committed group that work overtime, and I'm looking forward to working on so many more seasons with them."

Pointing out that this 56th season will continue in the tradition of quality productions, Simms says the group will be focused on giving patrons a season of dance they won't soon forget. "It's guaranteed to be a show patrons will love. It will have drama, excitement and high-energy choreography. Persons can expect a few new works, of course. We have local and overseas choreographers, so the mix that they will see in terms of the programming will be wide-ranging and eclectic." There have also been some new partnerships. "I've done a new work that was commissioned by CHASE that will premiere today, and that's going to be a treat. There will also be works From Neila Ebanks and Oneil Pryce, also commissioned by CHASE. It will be a great show, lots of stories to be told with the movements, just overall high-quality productions."

Pointing out that NDTC shows always deliver on entertainment, Simms is encouraging persons to come out in support of the dancers. "I guarantee you wont be disappointed when you come out. The dancers and choreographers have been putting their all into rehearsals, and they are planning to give each performance everything they have. NDTC always delivers, and this year will be no different."

The season of dance runs until August 12. Shows are expected to start at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 5 p.m. on Sundays.