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Let's Dance: NDTC Launches 55th Anniversary Celebrations

Mark Phinn and Kerry Ann Henry in Dimensions at the NDTC 55th anniversary launch

A beautifully serene rendition of ‘Evening Time’ brought the musical overture at the launch of the National Dance Theatre Company’s 55th anniversary celebrations to a close. Despite it’s beauty, the choice of song did not at all signal that the NDTC is about to descend into its twilight, as the rest of the event suggested that the company is actually revving up. 

“It is the story that is synonymous with the story of Jamaica,” said Marlon Simms, Assistant Artistic Director of the NDTC and host for the launch event. “It is a story that began in 1962, the year Jamaica gained its independence.”

Mr. Simms described the NDTC’s work as “an artistic exploration of who we are as a people,” designed not only to shape how Jamaicans view themselves but also how Jamaicans are viewed by others.

Marlon Simms, assistant artistic director of NDTC“It is our past, present and vision of the future,” Mr. Simms said.

NDTC Chairman, Milton Samuda underlined the continued commitment of the board of directors to help make that vision possible. 

“The year will allow for reflection on the origins and missions as well as looking forward to the road ahead,” Mr. Samuda said. He explained that the NDTC's sustainability extended well beyond the continued commitment of the dancers to include the board and their sponsors.

Framing the year as a great time for nostalgia, Artistic Director, Barry Moncrieffe, announced the roster of events.

“When I joined the company I was the youngest. I am now one of the oldest,” Mr. Moncrieffe said. “Every milestone, every significant anniversary, brings with it some unique sense of nostalgia... Today we are happy to have all of you share with us in teh first planned event of our emerald 55th anniversary."The NDTC singers perform 'Tradin' arranged by Ewan Simpson

Held at the Worthington, Spanish Court, the launch unveiled a series of new and annual performances as well as student workshops and local and regional tours to mark the year. The celebrations will start off with ‘An Evening of Celebration, Praise & Thanksgiving’ at the University Chapel on Sunday, February 5, 2017, at 5:00 pm. A signature element of the year will be the 5 in 55 series which will see the NDTC spreading beyond the confines of the Little Theatre and stage concerts across the island, with concerts being planned for St. James, Portland and Manchester.

Annual activities that have been swept up into the celebration include the Company’s participation in the dance festival, Dance Umbrella (March 3, 2017, at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts), the Tribute to Rex (February 7, 2017) and the Easter Sunday morning concert, Morning of Movement and Music (April 21, 2017) both to be held at the Little Theatre.

Terry-Ann Dennison performs an excerpt of 'Folktales'The NDTC’s touring gets started in March with slated performances in Brooklyn and later Cayman, culminating with performances in Belize in November. The NDTC’s annual season of dance will take place at the Little Theatre, July 21 to August 13. The launch event culminated with the energetic folk suite ‘Tradin’, arranged by musical director, Ewan Simpson, and excerpts of Clive Thompson’s ‘Folktales’ performed by Terry-Ann Dennison, Arsenio Andrade’s 'Dimensions', performed by Mark Phinn and Kerry-Ann Henry and Rex Nettleford’s 'The Crossing', performed by the company.

The National Dance Theatre Company’s 55th anniversary launch event was held on, Tuesday, January 31, 2017.