Cultural Voice eZine

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Sneak Peek Behind the Curtain - In Preparation for NDTC's Morning of Movement and Music

NDTC’s Morning of Movement and Music dedicated to Eduardo Rivero-Walker, Monica McGowan and Maud Fuller


The annual Morning of Movement and Music mounted by the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) in association with The Little Theatre Movement (LTM) will celebrate its 32nd Anniversary, this Easter Sunday, March 31.

The 6 am performance will take place at The Little Theatre, Tom Redcam Drive in Kingston, and is dedicated to the lives of Founding Member Monica McGowan, long-standing friend of the Company, Maud Fuller and Cuban Professor and Choreographer, Eduardo Rivero-Walker.

Artistic Director Barry Moncrieffe says that the usually capacity-filled audience, will be treated to a renewed programme featuring the full 50-member Company of Dancers, Singers, Orchestra and Creative Technicians.

“In celebration of the 32nd anniversary of the NDTC’s annual act of worship, we have added a number of new elements to the programme, which we are certain our loyal supporters will enjoy as we celebrate this Easter season,” Moncrieffe confirmed.

A full Company performance of Hallelujah from Handel’s Messiah arranged by Ewan Simpson with choreography by Kevin Moore will open the sunrise performance; and for the first time, the audience will participate in the congregational Easter hymn, Christ the Lord is Risen Today. Spoken word will also be introduced to the line up”, Moncrieffe added.

New Recruits

Six new members will make their debut this Easter, Moncrieffe revealed. They are: Kaydene Gordon (Soprano) Carole Kamala Nicholson-Johnson (Contralto); Keith Mitchell (Tenor) as well as musicians Albert Shaun Hird (Flute); Amardo Blake (Guitar/Keyboard) and Ivana Kenny (Keyboards).

They will join in the presentation of arrangements by Ewan Simpson of The Story with music from popular Jamaican Gospel group Grace Thrillers, the Negro spiritual, Were you there? and My Praise.
Celebrated NDTC Tenor Carl Bliss, currently on leave from the Company, will also make a cameo appearance to undertake a solo from excerpts of The Mass in A arranged by NDTC’s major creative artist, Marjorie Whylie.

Dance Works


New dance works to be debuted on Easter Sunday morning include Sanctuary choreographed by Gene Carson, Artistic Director of the Barbados Dance Theatre Company and former NDTC dancer/choreographer; The Beloven by Kevin Moore and Patrick Earle’s Enchanted. In tribute to Maud Fuller, Dance Captain Marlon Simms will present Still Still With Thee, based on the Christian hymn of the same name, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, to the tune  “ Consolation” by Felix Mendelssohn. 

The act of worship also includes excerpts of works by the Company’s Founder and late Artistic Director, Rex Nettleford (Tintinnabulum and Brazilian Ode), as well as Clive Thompson (Of Prophecy and Song) and Arsenio Andrade-Calderon (A Prayer). In addition to remounting two dance works, his own Steal Away (1997) and a solo excerpt from the Nettleford 1993 Master work (Interconnexions), Founding Member Bert Rose has also been involved in Set Design for the show.


The programme will, as usual, be supported by NDTC’s Lighting Director Michael McDonald; Sound Director, Tony Holness; Stage Manager, Dwayne Brown; Wardrobe Mistress Barbara Kaufman and Secretary/Treasurer; Bridget Spaulding.


The performance will close with a new revival piece involving the Full Company.


Patrons are asked to be seated by 5:45 am.

Pictures courtesy of Stuart Reeves

Tamara Noel in Of Prophesy and Song
Keita Marie Chamberlain, Tamara Noel & Kerry-Ann Henry in Tintinnabulum
The Company in Tintinnabulum
Kerry-Ann Henry in A Prayer
Marlon Simms
Clive Thompson, Bert Rose, Barry Moncrieffe & The NDTC Singers
The NDTC Singers and Dancers in Still Still With Thee
Paul Newman in Of Prophesy and Song
Kerry- Ann Henry, Alicia Glasgow, Stefanie Thomas, Marlon Simms and Mark Phinn in Steal Away


Tuesday, 12 March 2013



Director Fabian Thomas has developed the reputation of bringing non-traditional, edgy and challenging theatrical productions to the Jamaican stage. His upcoming production  continues that tradition. Described by the director/producer as his ‘most challenging and intriguing’ effort to date, Thomas will present 2 of the plays from Tarell Alvin McCraney’s highly praised and revered trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays. In the Red and Brown Water and The Brothers Size will run at the Pantry Playhouse March 15 - 24 and March 29 - April 7 respectively.

“As soon as I read the book, I knew I had to direct them!”, Thomas shares, referring to McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays which have been described as “dangerous, modern-day stories of kinship, love, heartache and coming-of-age”, while it has been said that the young playwright “speaks with authenticity about a world that is gritty and lyrical, urban and mythic. One of the most startling new American theatrical voices of the 21st century, McCraney is thrilling audiences internationally by pushing the boundaries of language, form, and sexuality in provocative and poetic ways”. The trilogy delves into the world of a Louisiana Bayou housing project, a landscape of hardship and dreams influenced by Yoruba mythology.

Tarell Alvin McCraney is the recipient of several awards including the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award.

In addition to challenging himself, Thomas has also challenged his actors to learn and adapt the Louisiana in keeping with the demands of the play's script. The talented cast of actors is comprised of Shanique Brown, Damian ‘DJ’ Shaw, Hanief Lallo, Sean Bennett, Ramone Gordon, Shawna-Kae Burns, Noelle Kerr, Shantol Jackson, Susie Braham, Justin Hadeed Awn and Kevin Nelson.

In his creative journey to bring this production to life Thomas has incorporated singers, live music, movement and the use of breathe into his arsenal.

Both productions have ‘adults only’ advisories, due to explicit language and sexual situations

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Jamaica Dance Umbrella honours dance stalwart Barbara Requa & has dialogue on the state of dance!

Barbara Requa - "A Dance Educator Extraordinaire"

The PSCCA Arts Festival is an annual display of intercontinental performing arts with the Jamaica Dance Umbrella specifically providing a platform honouring the work of dancers and dance artistes while providing a platform for prominent dance collectives from across the island, the Caribbean as well as other regions including North and South America to showcase their talents. In celebrating 5 years as Jamaica’s premier dance festival the organisers hosted their first dance focused panel discussion – ‘DANCE DIALOGUES: MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH DANCE’.

The panel dubbed "Dance Dialogues" was presented under the patronage of the Embassy of France in Jamaica and produced in partnership with the Kingston Book Festival (Book Industry Association of Jamaica).

Perhaps the highlight of the afternoon, after a very vibrant and necessary discussion on the evolution of dance in Jamaica, Barbados, the Caribbean and its Diaspora, the JDU team honoured Mrs. Barbara Requa, the consummate artiste who has devoted her life's work to creating an enabling environment for the evolution of the Jamaican dance scene for generations to come.

The Panel featured Barbara Requa, Dr. L'Antoinette Stines, Monica Dasilva, Maria Hitchins, Aisha Comissiong, and Khama Phillips who spoke of moments when they fell in love with dance and how this love has evolved. Dr. Stines animatedly shared about standing at the gate of dance studios clandestinely learning ballet as a little girl because she knew her mother couldn't afford to pay for classes but she really wanted to dance and could do it "better than the girls in the studio."
L'Antionette Stines
Monica Dasilva

Monica DaSilva, who has been documenting Jamaican Dance for over 25 years, spoke of the lackluster Jamaican market for dance photography. A few audience members chimed in with suggestions, comments and comparisons to other markets.
Maria Hitchins encouraged more scholarship on topics such as the Jamaican dancehall culture. This discussion evolved alongside a discussion on the "language of dance" and how this "language" can be applicable to the wider audience. Also discussed was the responsibility of journalists who cover dance. It was the general consensus that dancers needed to be greater stakeholders in the process as they understood the language of dance and could communicate it effectively.

Aisha Comissiong and Khama Phillips widened the perspective of the discussions by sharing their stories relevant to the dance culture in Barbados and underscored the need for greater development in the application of contemporary infusion of home-grown dance techniques.
Khama Phillips

The discussions were hard hitting and very relevant to the evolution of the dance space in the Caribbean. The involvement of the "Book Industry" as stakeholders was apt for the occasion as there is a dearth of Caribbean publications focused on dance.

Aisha Comissiong

French Ambassador to Jamaica Ginette de Matha and Guest

Judith Wedderburn and Kerry-Ann Henry