The internationally acclaimed National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC) made it first performance to a sold out crowd last Saturday (Feb. 10) Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.
Proceeds from the special one night performance will benefit the will benefit the development of the Jamaica Diaspora movement in the Southern USA.
The nearly 600 audience of Jamaican nationals and friends enjoyed a two-hour program performed by the 45-member company comprising dancers, singers and musicians, which explored the intricacies of Jamaican culture. Performances included a tribute to Bob Marley called ‘Ode’. Daughter of the late international reggae star, Cedella Marley, designed costumes for this piece.
Professor Hon. Rex Nettleford founder and artistic director of the NDTC, in his latest work choreographed ‘Katrina’ a dance in seven episodes recreating the impact of the 2005 hurricane disaster in New Orleans. In that piece, Professor Nettleford explained that the dance invoked a socially conscious look at the depth of hurricanes chronicling despair and hope, characteristic of Caribbean people.
In welcoming the audience to the premier event, the Professor said that the repertoire of several new works by a new body of young, talented and vibrant choreographers would showcase the Company’s new mode of operation, embracing renewal and continuity. He further added that the dances reflected the strong influence of the African ancestry in our Caribbean heritage, and fused also with our European and Asian influence.
Jamaica’s Consul General Ricardo Allicock in his remarks spoke of the symbolic and historical significance of the performance during Black History Month, representative of Jamaica’s ethnic plurality as well as NDTC’s commitment to the expression of the African global experience.
He described the dance company as “a movement, which gives dramatic, insightful expression to the sorrow, exultation, legacy and vision of our people, delivering it in a language universally understood.”
Commending the efforts of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts for recognizing the creative energy of the Jamaican culture, Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board to the Southern USA, Marlon Hill, expressed gratitude to the organization for the partnership established with the Diaspora through the inaugural benefit performance at the prestigious South Florida venue.
He also lauded the efforts of the Jamaica Awareness Incorporated, a Florida-based cultural marketing group, under the direction of Mr. Sydney Roberts for their cooperation their continued commitment and partnership in fostering and supporting activities in the interest of Jamaicans at home and abroad.
Congratulatory sentiments were echoed by Mr. Sydney Bartley, Principal Director of Entertainment and Culture in the Ministry of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture as well as Mr. Mark Nerenhausen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.