LETTER OF THE DAY' - Dancers must always be educated'
The Editor, Sir:
As the news of the passing of Professor Rex Nettleford reached London, I, like many of the people whose lives he touched, found myself reflecting on the last time I was able to share a moment in his presence.
'Prof', as he was called by many who came in contact with him, was truly the perfect balance between high academic intellect and artistic brilliance. And his resounding advice to me after graduating from the University of the West Indies and when I decided to pursue a career in theatre was: "Dancers must always be educated".
He constantly stressed the importance of one attaining one's full potential through education and the highest achievements in whatever one did. His own life provided such a fine example of this.
Cultures often speak of honouring our ancestors and those who have paved the way for our lives. I was very honoured to have walked alongside such an ancestor. I was blessed to have called him a mentor. Professor Nettleford had a way of making people he came in contact with feel special and important and he was never too busy to sit and have a talk with them in his office or even during a rehearsal by the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC). He was always "better for seeing you".
Wherever he had been in the world, Professor Nettleford would somehow make it back to teach NDTC company class on Monday nights. With much dedication, he would vocalise the combinations he was teaching, and the days when we had power cuts, he would turn on the lights of his car and shine it in the studio so we would have class in the glow of the night. This sort of dedication, passion and hard work is what I carry on as one of his dancers, his sons, his vision of renewal and continuity for "one should never be a mistral".
Because of such a great man, many today can reflect on a life of giving, sharing and a drive towards constant knowledge.
Today I say a big thank you to his family and his secretary, Miss Morgan, who has also been a part of this journey.
I am, etc.,