President and Executive Director of Jamaica Awareness Incorporated, Mr. Sydney Roberts, visited The UWI, Mona this week, met with representatives of both the UWI and the NDTC, and handed over the cheque which will be a significant contribution to the Foundation which plans to offer scholarships, training in the Arts, and also fund youth leadership programmes which can form a part of the educational system in the Caribbean, a matter which was very dear to the heart of Professor Nettleford.
According to Mr. Roberts, the NDTC performance was a huge success, attracting a significant Caribbean audience as well as many Floridians who over the years have developed a tremendous admiration for this outstanding Jamaican Dance company which now has an international reputation. President Roberts, who has sponsored all the visits of the NDTC to Miami since l992, said he had a very special interest in ensuring the success of this most recent performance because of the great respect which he and all Caribbean people had for Professor Nettleford whose death has left a tremendous void in the cultural communities across the world.
Mr. Roberts has also been persuaded to offer his years of experience in mounting these events to several groups across North America, as well in the UK, which are anxious to undertake similar events which can strengthen the finances of the Nettleford Foundation.
The group offered its sincere appreciation for the contribution, as well as Mr. Roberts’ willingness to share his expertise with other groups.
Jamaica Awareness INC was formed in l984 in direct response to a rapidly growing
Caribbean population and interest in Caribbean art forms. Incorporated in l985 as
Tragically, he suffered a massive heart attack in a Washington, DC, hotel and died five days later in hospital.
It was therefore particularly fitting for the Toronto Chapter of The University of the West Indies Alumni Association to host an event for the Canadian launch of The Rex Nettleford Foundation, and that it should have been held on U of T premises arranged by the Caribbean Studies Programme.
Created on May 28, 2010, the foundation was officially launched on September 17 at a ceremony on the Mona Campus in Jamaica, and the lofty Mission Statement promises that it "will support scholars and programmes that promote the strengthening of West Indian society in the areas of social and cultural development through research, community service and intellectual excellence".
It is aimed at "young leaders who grasp the importance of public service based on integrity, who have a desire to protect the weak, and who will use their energies and talents for the betterment of humankind".
Sir Shridath and Nettleford worked closely when they were, respectively, chancellor and vice chancellor of the UWI.
"All humanity, and within it Jamaica, the Caribbean, the world of dance and culture, academe in our region and beyond, have all lost in Rex Nettleford a rare incandescent eagle," said Sir Shridath.
It is intended that a multi-
"I would like it to be of him robed in his academic gown, and poised to dance Kumina," she said.
Fuller, who had a distinguished career at both the UWI and the U of T, was the founder of the Toronto Chapter of the UWI Alumni Association, which she headed for more than two decades, and Professor E Nigel Harris, the UWI's vice chancellor, who made a presentation to her at the event, announced that one of the university's regional endowment scholarships is being named in her honour.
The UWI alumni event was also the occasion for the presentation of a Rex Nettleford
Lecture, given by the U of T's Bahamas-
He called his lecture "The Shifting Ground: The Caribbean Elegy and The Diasporic Time of Mourning". The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines an elegy as "a mournful poem, typically a lament for someone who has died".
"The Caribbean is a diaspora of Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas," he said -
Campbell also spoke of "sonic Afro-
The poet and scholar mentioned a number of literary figures who have died relatively recently, referencing not only the death of Nettleford, but those of famed Martiniquan poet and novelist Aimé Césaire, who died in 2008 at the age of 94; Jamaican playwright Trevor Rhone, who died in 2009, aged 69; Barry Chevannes, also a Jamaican, who died at 70 in November, 2010, and Martinique's poet, essayist and literary critic Édouard Glissant, who died in February aged 82.
Ranging widely, he sprinkled his remarks with references to living Caribbean poets Derek Walcott of St Lucia, Lorna Goodison of Jamaica and Kamau Brathwaite of Barbados, among others.
Standing in for U of T Professor Alissa Trotz, the Guyana-
Colin Rickards is a British-
Remembering Rex, Tuesday night's poignant production at the Little Theatre, Tom Redcam Avenue, was in commemoration of late cultural icon, Rex Nettleford, who died four years ago.
It featured presentations by the two internationally acclaimed performing arts groups
with which Nettleford worked for decades. They were the National Dance Theatre Company
(NDTC), of which he was co-
Dancing along with the NDTC were five trainees, part of a group of aspiring dancers who have been participating in a special training programme for more than a year. When the trainees were showcased at the NDTC studio (beside the Little Theatre) on January 28, the audience of dance aficionados responded with delight. As conversations after the show assured me, many spectators believed that among the two dozen or so dancers on the studio floor were some future NDTC stars.
As they took on the challenge of eight dances, the performers, who ranged in age
from the mid-
Some of the dances -
Broken (choreographed by Marlon Simms) featured a graceful, controlled solo by Jodi-
Also among the 2014 dances was Kerry-
She added, "I didn't carry a specific message." and Voice of Thrones is not a dance
"As a choreographer, I like to tell stories," Henry said, elaborating on the process of the dance's creation. "But I realise it's okay to make the story come out of emotion. Then the audience doesn't have to struggle to follow a storyline, but can sit back and enjoy the feeling."
Henry continued: "I wanted to take people on this journey of thanksgiving and searching, for this is something we (the teachers and trainees) have been going through."
From Henry and NDTC artistic director Barry Moncrieffe, whom I also interviewed that morning, I learnt more about the training programme. The audition for the first batch was held not long before Nettleford died, but it has been in the past year that Henry and Simms, the principal teachers, have put a firm structure in place. Classes are now held twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the students are taught a variety of dance forms. These include ballet, Caribbean folk, modern, and the NDTC's unique dance theatre style which Nettleford developed.
Occasionally, Moncrieffe or others will conduct a master class, and once a month, the trainees have a class with the company. The young dancers are a 'feeder' group for the NDTC, and both Moncrieffe and Henry are confident that they will live up to the NDTC's high standard. In fact, Henry stated, "Professor (Nettleford) would have been so proud of them." He would have been particularly delighted, as Henry is, with the fact that there are so many trainees.
This is just as well for, as Moncrieffe admitted, "We (the company) won't get all
of them." Many -
An enthusiastic Henry said that in addition to the trainees' having "passion and
dedication", they have the talent and physical capabilities to present what she called
" a total performance package." She explained: "They have the ability to do folk,
modern technique and ballet-
With confidence, Henry declared "The company's future is assured with them."
The life and work of the late academic and cultural icon Professor Rex Nettleford was celebrated in song and dance at the Little Theatre in St Andrew on Tuesday.
Nettleford, who died in the United States four years ago, was remembered with performances
from the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), which he co-
Organised by the Rex Nettleford Foundation, it was a packed theatre which witnessed stellar performances from the two renowned troupes. The event's proceeds will fund the Foundation's work.
The NDTC, in keeping with the theme of renewal and continuity adopted since Nettleford's passing, chose pieces by established and emerging choreographers while the 'Singers' delivered their signature smorgasbord of styles and genres.
The night's standout performances were the Nine Nite Suite by the University Singers.
The opening line — Death has a time to steal us away — was the perfect segue to the
NDTC's Steal Away choreographed by Bert Rose. The singers were able to capture the
nuances of this African-
The ballet from the NDTC showcased the incredible lines and control of ballet mistress
Kerry Ann Henry, who played the central figure, ably supported by Alicia Glasgow,
Nettleford's work was showcased with the mounting of Dis Poem, from the 1988 set of dub poet Mutabaruka, and the night's closing dance The Renewal, which featured excerpts of Nettleford's choreography with staging by Kevin Moore and Herman Thomas.
The enjoyable night of performances was also enhanced by the delightful voice of soprano Alecia Forbes, whose rendition of This Little Light of Mine was a joy, particularly the heady notes at the close. One is always taken aback by the voice which comes from this petite singer. The Survivor medley got the audience going thanks to the series of popular tracks.
The night ended on a spirited, celebratory note with The Awakening, a revival piece set to live music courtesy of the NDTC singers.
Four years after the passing of Rex Nettleford, his memory still lingers in the hearts of many Jamaicans, but none more than those who are associated with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the members of National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC). Both institutions are now symbols of his creativity and intellectual power.
At an event, organised by the Nettleford Foundation on Nettleford's birthday (February
3), the two institutions, along with other well-
Through song and dance they remembered him. This was intensified by the choice of venue (The Little Theatre) that was arguably the most used canvas by the Professor.
Titled Remembering Rex, the two-
The 2012 choreography was a haunting display of non-
Clad in short black dresses with red underlining, the dancers explored various degrees
of levels, but what was most interesting was the web of fast-
The dance was originally dedicated to the women on the Jamaican Olympic team. It ended with all the dancers falling on to the stage, exhausted.
It was followed by bare-
The nostalgic dance also served as a translation of Nina Simone's cover of Jacques Brel's Ne Me Quitte Pas.
The sombre, reflective mood of Part One of the programme was to be repeated in Bert Rose's 1997 piece, Steal Away.
Rose's creativity was brought to life by Kerry-
Part Two took a walk down memory lane with two of Nettleford's works, Dis Poem and excerpts from Renewal.
Joined by the NDTC Singers, the dance was a celebration of revivalism. It was captivating and colourful and brought the full company of dancers to the stage.
Dis Poem was just as colourful. The costumes, designed by Pansy Hassan, Bert Rose and Nettleford, seemed to represent various causes.
The UWI Singers, performing between the dances, maintained the mood and tone of each segment.
The group's first set of performances where they did Hosanna, In Excelsis, and This Little Light of Mine were reflective, the final of the trio performed by Alecia Forbes.
The UWI Singers second appearance in Part Two took the form of a visit to a wake. Abandoning more formal looking attire, the group delivered a sombre Nine Night Suite.
In the second section of the programme, wearing costumes made from African print, the UWI Singers also gave an entertaining rendition of Survivor.
There was also a medley of songs such as We Shall Overcome and I Will Survive, which showcased not only great vocals but also varied and intricate formations.
A Nettleford fan, Natoya Grant, concurred. She thought the concert was very rich.
The Rex Nettleford Foundation, established in memory of the academic and cultural figure, continues its work to keep his memory alive. On Tuesday, a capacity audience gathered at the Little Theatre in St Andrew to remember Nettleford, raise funds for the work of the foundation, and enjoy performances by two of the cultural institutions with which he was connected.
Remembering Rex saw the University Singers and the National Dance Theatre Company
(NDTC), which he co-
The University Singers showcased their range moving from the classic Alleluia to a soothing rendition of When the Road Seems Rough, featuring the solo work of contralto Kimone Johnson. David Sprunger's Give Me Wings took flight inside the theatre and was highly appreciated.
Tenor Roy Thompson never fails to delight his audience and on Tuesday night it was his rendition of Without a Song from the musical Great Day which caught the ear.
But it was the never-
The work of Nettleford was at the top and tail of the dance programme. For openers,
it was his 52-
Jamaica was the next stop for the dancers and the words and music of composer Mapletoft
Poulle's I Saw My Land In the Morning formed the backdrop for the piece of the same
name performed by the company. This work was buttressed by the live vocals of Earl
Brown, Leighton Jones, Conrod Hall and Joseph Roach. The company's slate of dancers
would return for the night's final piece, Nettleford's seminal work Gerrehbenta -
Pursing a double major degree in Computer Science and Dance might seem impossible at first glance. However, Juett Carty the 2014 JNGI Rex Nettleford Scholarship Dance Scholarship recipient has found a way to pursue her passion.
Juett, 24, is completing a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. The is being done jointly with a degree in Computer Science, being pursued at The University of the West Indies, Mona. She is the first student to have combined these subjects; but then, she is accustomed to following her own path. “I was a bit of a tomboy while growing up in Mandeville, but I was also interested in the arts,” she relates. “I did drama and singing, which is the direction my mother, Yvonne, would have preferred me to take.”
She credits the influence of her brother Bolivar, who was involved in dance through the Davyton United Church, and who later started his own dance group, as having a formative influence on her life. She along with her sister Karlia, followed naturally in his footsteps. The DeCarteret College student also played the flute and did speech performances in her spare time. But above all else, she wanted to dance.
“When Rex Nettleford was on television doing a performance, my dad would call me; and I would be locked to the screen until it was finished. I would not do anything else,” the dancer recalls. But in addition to those interests, Juett enjoyed spending time with her father, Melbourne Carty, when he was fixing his car. “I was keen on technology. I wanted to understand how the devices in my home worked and tried to take them apart.” “In my circle of friends, there was a craze about Nokia phones. I was fascinated and wanted to know how they were made and how they got games on the device.” It was this interest in phones which led her to do computer programming when she reached sixth form.
There, she wrote a simple book location programme for libraries which actually worked. She declares, “I knew right then that computer technology was what I wanted to do.” She applied to do a degree in Computer Science at The UWI, and then looked at the options for following her love for dance. “I knew that these were the two things I wanted to do,” she says. “Initially I wasn’t sure how I could find a link; but, I was determined to find the way to follow both my passions and combine them.”
The opportunity only emerged when she became a member of The UWI Dance Society, and through her own research realised that such a double major, linking with the dance programme at the Edna Manley College, could be created. She then had to get acceptance into the Edna Manley College, and have them request permission for her to pursue the joint programme with The UWI. “I had to go out of my way to discover this opportunity,” she states. “There were easier options, but choosing this path drove me to work harder.”
Juett also had to overcome the logistical difficulties of attending classes on two campuses, which required tight scheduling. And…. she had to dance. “At my age, 24, dance at this level can be challenging, as certain techniques and postures are easier for someone who starts formal training earlier. A young child is able to get a better turnout than I can as my bones are already set.”
She explains that it is a lot of work, but fortunately she acquired some level of
flexibility from doing gymnastics earlier. “What inspires me to go on,” she says,
“is a story I read, about a young girl who was bed-
The skills she has acquired in programming, software research and testing, troubleshooting, as well as camera configuration, provide the basis for hers optimism, that she can play a role in helping people to express their mental concepts to the wider public, through the direct use of technology. Juett Carty aims to take on this new challenge, following her double graduations when she completes her programme later this year.
“The JNGI Rex Nettleford Dance Scholarship helped me to follow my dream,” she adds. “I want to make the best of this unique opportunity.”
Juett Carty (centre), recipient of the 2014 JNGI Rex Nettleford Dance Scholarship, has her cheque signed by Chris Hind (right), General Manager, JN General Insurance Company, while Sir Alister McIntyre, director of the Rex Nettleford Foundation looks on. The student, pursuing a double major with the School of Dance at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, as well as in Computer Science at University of the West Indies, Mona, , received her award at Sir Alister’s St. Andrew residence.
Specially invited guests turned up at Carib Cinema in Kingston to support the Rex Nettleford Foundation's premiere of the movie Selma. On Tuesday, the red carpet was rolled out as guests were treated to an exclusive affair filled with fine wines and delectable hors d'oeuvres. While pausing for the occasional photo op, many made new acquaintances and reinforced old ones as a mingling frenzy erupted right there in the main lobby of the theatre.
With the cocktail segment of the evening over, they made their way to the designated auditorium in an orderly fashion. Once all were seated, the formalities got under way, with introductions from some notables who were present. Chorvelle Johnson, CEO of Proven Wealth Limited, one of the sponsors for the night, said that the company was elated to be on the board of such a prestigious foundation that keeps the work and memory of one of Jamaica's iconic academics alive.
Held under the patronage of former Prime Minister P.J Patterson, he also took to
the podium to express gratitude in a convivial atmosphere. He noted that choosing
this movie was extremely and uniquely suited to honour Nettleford's legacy as one
of the greats of Jamaica, the Caribbean and the diaspora. Then it was time for the
main event -
WORTH THE WAIT
Technical difficulties delayed the start of the show, but it was definitely worth
the wait. Selma is based on the true life story of Dr Martin Luther King Junior's
quest for equal voting rights in 1965. The movie starts with a bang and audience
members were stirred with emotions at the realistic details of the struggle which
King and black people endured. The non-
It was that heroic march from Selma to Montgomery which influenced and prompted President
Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act in 1965, going down in history as the greatest
It is definitely a must-
Patron of the Rex Nettleford Foundation, former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, engages Beverly Duncan and Marge Seeberan in conversation.
CEO of Proven Wealth Limited Chorvelle Johnson shares the spotlight with former Governor General Sir Kenneth Hall.
The lovely bevy of women (from left) Beverly Duncan, Jeanette Hutchinson and Marge Seeberan.