Barry Moncrieffe an artistic superstar
THE EDITOR, Madam:
I wish to pay a tribute of respect to the late National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) dance pioneer and choreographer, Barry Moncrieffe, who died at age 78, and who, like his mentor and co-founder of the NDTC, the late Professor Rex Nettleford, used his considerable talent to inspire countless generations of NDTC dancers to achieving excellence in their craft within and beyond the shores of Jamaica.
Beyond his amazing star-studded capacity to use dance and its artistic expressions as a means of communicating the rhythmic dimensions of Caribbean cultural norms, Barry was able to utilise his choreographic skills to tell the story of love, romance, conflict, endurance and excellence that characterises the Caribbean’s cultural history of redemption. He did all this with the confident identity of a Caribbean person capable of laughter, humour, the gift of encouragement, and, in the words of one of his former students, “the biggest heart”.
In this artistic endeavour, the stage was Barry’s grand piano where he exhibited the technical demands of his signature jumps and turns, and celebrated his virtuosity, depth and intensity as a dancer par excellence. He could dance en pointe, and was admired even in later life for his gravity-defying leaps.
Most important is the fact that we say goodbye to one of our truly outstanding artistic superstars who excelled in his craft locally, regionally and internationally precisely because he was able to master the mental coordination necessary on the part of all of us to make the journey throughout the 21st century a safe and productive one.
Without a doubt, Barry Moncrieffe has taken his leave of us knowing the critical role that the creative imagination must inevitably play in taking a country like ours forward. For this he has my total respect, and may he forever remain in our memories.