Members of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica perform 'The Crossing' during its 45th Anniversary Season of Dance, held at the Little Theatre, Tom Redcam Avenue, on Saturday, July 21, 2007. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
The Caribbean's leading dance-theatre ensemble, the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) of Jamaica, will again make appearances at Whitman Hall, New York, under the auspices of the Brooklyn Centre for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College, where the highly acclaimed company enjoys the status of Artist in Residence.
Audiences will see the bulk of the new-generation performers (dancers, singers and musicians) featured in Jamaica since the NDTC's 45th Anniversary Season of Dance in 2007 in the NDTC new mode of 'renewal and continuity'.
So, apart from established choreographers Bert Rose, Clive Thompson and artistic director Rex Nettleford, the works of such new choreographers as Chris Walker and Marlon Simms will be presented.
The repertoire for New York will feature Variation A Ska by Walker, drawing on the contemporary movement and music of urban Jamaica, while Marlon Simms' Joyful Joyful, a popular urban upbeat treatment of Beethoven's 'Ode To Joy' will be presented at the special performances being mounted for children of the Jamaican and Caribbean diaspora in New York.
As a regular feature of the NDTC's New York appearances, the young audiences will also be treated to traditional songs of Jamaica and the Caribbean, as well as contemporary popular artistes like Bob Marley and Dennis Brown. Marjorie Whylie, musical director and arranger, will introduce the programmes to the youthful audiences.
Also on the two programmes being presented on the tour are Bert Rose's delicately crafted Steal Away (featuring Kerry-Ann Henry, Arsenio Andrade-Calderon, Mark Phinn, Alicia Glasgow and Stefanie Thomas) as well as Clive Thomspon's treatment of the Lazarus biblical story entitled Of Sympathy and Love. The well- known Gerrehbenta, based on Jamaican dead-year ceremonies with its Gerreh, Etu and Dinki-Mini sequences, accompanied by the NDTC Singers with soloists Whylie and Carl Bliss, will be one of the three masterworks by Nettleford being presented.
The other two are Katrina, the choreographer's spin on the 2005 hurricane disaster affecting the people of New Orleans, and The Crossing in commemoration of the bicentenary abolition of the trans-atlantic slave trade, which is being celebrated this year by the United States which officiallyabolished the trade in 1808.
The NDTC has been appearing in New York and other areas of the USA since 1973 when it first appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and later at the city centre, Manhattan, before switching to Brooklyn Centre for the Performing Arts in 1980.
Its 45 years experience in overseas touring since 1963 has been cleared in Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany and Finland, the old USSR, the United Kingdom, Latin America and the wider Caribbean (including Martinique, Puerto Rico and Cuba).
The current New York tour will last from April 24 until April 28, to be followed by the 46th Season of Dance in July/August and further overseas tours.