MIAMI - The Rex Nettleford Foundation has received a significant boost with the donation of half a million Jamaican dollars from Jamaica Awareness Incorporated, a Florida-based, non-profit organization. The donation represents proceeds from the mounting of a performance of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) at the Coral Spring Center for the Arts in Miami, Florida.

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 a Florida-based non profit, it identified community and governmental support and began its growth as one of Florida’s prolific producers of Caribbean music, theatre, dance and other art forms. Today, Jamaica Awareness presents both internationally and nationally a wide-range of Caribbean arts and artists from the Caribbean basin.

   Jamaica’s NDTC Performance

    in Miami Fund-Raiser for

    Rex Nettleford Foundation

   South Florida Caribbean News                                                 

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.

Toronto-based UWI graduates responded to an invitation by Alumni Association co-presidents Ferdinand Fortune and Michael Henville to attend the foundation's launch, for which Sir Shridath Ramphal, chancellor emeritus of the UWI and chairman of the foundation, was on hand.

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-discipline academic Chair should be established at Mona in the name of Rex Nettleford, and Professor Harris revealed that there are plans to erect a statue of him on the campus, an idea which came from the cultural icon's lifelong friend and fellow educator, Maud Fuller, who has made a substantial donation to get the necessary fund-raising under way.

"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.

Tax-deductible donations to The Rex Nettleford Foundation can be made through the UWI's Institutional Advancement Division, with cheques being made payable to The University of the West Indies. For more information, visit www.rexnettlefordfoundation.com.

The UWI alumni event was also the occasion for the presentation of a Rex Nettleford Lecture, given by the U of T's Bahamas-born Professor Christian Campbell, a former Rhodes Scholar and award-winning poet.

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 - a phrase which could have come from Nettleford himself.

Campbell also spoke of "sonic Afro-Modernity" and a "poetic manifesto of diaspora", and in an interesting visual sidebar, showed video clips of Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul and Kumina dancers in Jamaica.


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-born director of the Caribbean Studies Programme (who was out of the country), Barbados-born U of T professor and author Melanie Newton said that the UWI alumni event in a way "completed Professor Nettleford's (intended) journey to Toronto" last year.

Colin Rickards is a British-born Canadian-based journalist and author.
colin.rickards@sympatico.ca

   

    Recognising Rex Nettleford's legacy

    BY COLIN RICKARDS

      www.jamaicaobserver.com

A little more than a year ago Jamaican-born Professor Rex Nettleford, scholar, social and cultural historian, political analyst and trade union educator, was making his way to Toronto to carry out an External Review of the Caribbean Studies Programme at the University of Toronto's New College.

Following that, he was to play a major role in the very first University of the West Indies Benefit Gala in Toronto, which aimed to raise funds for the institution's regional endowment scholarships.

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-founder and artistic director, and the University Singers, for whom Nettleford choreographed movement for concerts.

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.

The dances

As they took on the challenge of eight dances, the performers, who ranged in age from the mid-teens to the early 20s, demonstrated that they were well on their way to achieving mastery of the terpsichorean skills. Three of the dances, He Watcheth (choreographed by Milton Sterling) and excepts from Islands and Blood Canticles by Nettleford, were established works. The other five were brand new.

Some of the dances - if not all - will reappear in expanded forms and will be performed by NDTC professionals. But the trainees will forever be able to boast that they danced in the works' world premieres. Giving the trainees that sense of ownership was, I heard later, one of the choreographers' intentions.

Broken (choreographed by Marlon Simms) featured a graceful, controlled solo by Jodi-Ann Smith in a flowing white dress. Bands A Gathering (Kevin Moore) was danced by the full cast in colourful revival costumes to a recorded medley of revival songs by the NDTC Singers. With Closer (Simms) we saw a duet by 14 year-old Lauryn Rickman of Immaculate Conception High School and 16 year-old Michael Small of Campion College, looking elegant and sophisticated as they got closer and closer together. By the end of the dance, her head was in his lap.

Storyline

The 45-minute show ended excitingly with Simms' The Chase. Its simple but amusingly suspenseful storyline shows a sophisticated uptown girl being musically seduced to join a group of dancehall performers. Try as she might, she can't resist the driving rhythms and ends up dancing with the others.


Also among the 2014 dances was Kerry-Ann Henry's Voice of Thrones, which featured the cast led by Gillian Steele. A couple of days later, across the road in the Edna Manley College's School of Dance, which Henry heads, I spoke to her about the work. It was inspired by previous pieces she had choreographed, Henry said, and was primarily about feelings and emotions. Of the lead dancer, Henry said, "That person is representative of a lot of the emotions I go through, navigating not only the space of dance, but the space of life."

She added, "I didn't carry a specific message." and Voice of Thrones is not a dance drama - as yet. It might be one when next seen by the public, she said.

"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."

Thanksgiving journey

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.

The trainees

This is just as well for, as Moncrieffe admitted, "We (the company) won't get all of them." Many - perhaps most - of them will pursue other interests, he said, and mentioned one young man who may be migrating soon. In the meantime, Moncrieffe said he intended to put some of the trainees in the NDTC's annual Easter Morning concert at the Little Theatre.

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-based choreography. The signature of the company is dance drama, and they are able to do that, too".

With confidence, Henry declared "The company's future is assured with them."

   

    NDTC satisfied with trainees

    By: Michael Reckord, Gleaner Writer

      Published: Friday | February 14, 2014

      www.jamaica-gleaner.com

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-founded 52 years ago as well as the University Singers -- a choir for which he provided choreography.

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-based, Jamaican tradition of sending home the spirits in a truly celebratory fashion, the performance culminating in dance and revelry.

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, Terry-Ann Dennison, Mark Phinn and Marlon Simms.

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.

   

    Remembering Rex

    By: Richard Johnson

      Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014  

      www.jamaicaobserver.com

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-wishers, came together to honour his memory.

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-part programme began with a powerful opening, Chromosome X, choreographed by NDTC's heir apparent Marlon Simms.

The 2012 choreography was a haunting display of non-stop images of bodies in perpetual motion, walking, running, and leaping, all to the sound of steady breathing that reinforced the strength of the various movements.

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-paced exits and entrances they wove.

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-chested Mark Phinn. Wearing a pair of tight-fitted shorts, Phinn gave a dazzling display of controlled body extensions, tugging at the heart as he executed Jamie J. Thompson's 2013 piece, Don't Leave Me.

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-Ann Henry, Alicia Glasgow, Terry-Ann Dennison, Mark Phinn and Marlon Simms.

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.

   

    Remembering Rex Nettleford

    By: Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer

      Published: Monday February 17, 2014

      www.jamaica-gleaner.com

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-founded, performing pieces from their active repertoire which reflected a diversity reminiscent of Nettleford himself -- deeply rooted in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean but having a global outlook.

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-ending saga of Man and Woman Story arranged for the 'Singers' by Noel Dexter which went over best. This suite utilises popular songs from the folk music genre to speak to falling in love, falling out of love, and back in again. This humorous take on affairs of the heart resonated with the audience and was met with resounding applause. Like the music of the evening, the dance was also varied.

The work of Nettleford was at the top and tail of the dance programme. For openers, it was his 52-year-old work Dialogue for Three (choreographed in 1963). The universal love triangle story was beautifully told by dancers Marisa Benain, Kerry-Ann Henry and Marlon Simms set off by the guitar music of Joaquin Rodrigo. The sensuality of Cuban culture came to the fore with an excerpt from Dimensions, choreographed by the Cuban Arsenio Andrade Calderon. Here the expressive lines and form of ballet mistress Kerry-Ann Henry are juxtaposed against the physicality of Mark Phinn. This results in a pleasing presentation.

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 -- an ode to two traditional rites in Jamaica. This colourful NDTC favourite would bring the curtains down.

-- Richard Johnson

   

    Nettleford remembered in song, dance

    By: Richard Johnson

      Published: Thursday, February 12, 2015  

      www.jamaicaobserver.com

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-bound, but in her mind, she thinks of herself as a ballerina choreographing dances. And felt that I would like to use my skills to develop the tools for her to choreograph a dance piece from her bed, and share it with others.”  “Dance is something you do in your mind as well as in your body. Anyone can dance, despite their physical limitations,” she says. “You can simply sit in your seat and rock. That is dancing.”

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: Rex Nettleford Scholar with a Difference

    Article source: Jamaica National Building Society
     
http://www.jnbs.com/juett-carty-rex-nettleford-scholar-difference

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 - Selma.

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-violent approach of his supporters was met with immense violence. This pulled at the heartstrings of the audience and a few women were seen going for their tissues.

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 successful game-changer for the civil rights movement, black people and the world. But beyond that, at the heart of the movie is a look at the man behind the movement. The man who not only became a remarkable pastor, leader and visionary, but who was also a father and a husband.

It is definitely a must-see.

Article credit:
krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com

   

    The Rex Nettleford Foundation
     premieres
'Selma'

    By: Krysta Anderson

      Published:Friday February 27, 2015

      www.jamaicaobserver.com

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.

Scores of guests, invited by the Rex Nettleford Foundation, poured into the familiar home of a dance company steeped in the history and creativity of a man who brought out the validity of the power of Caribbean culture through dance.

In his opening remarks on behalf of the foundation, former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson reminded the audience that it was established in 2010 to preserve the intellectual brilliance of Professor Nettleford. He pointed out that this was being achieved by supporting scholars and programmes that promote the strengthening of West Indian society's development through research, community service and intellectual excellence.

"To this end, the foundation has been working to identify students who exhibit the promise of the extraordinary talents of Professor Nettleford. It will assist in their development so that they, in turn, can contribute to perpetuating his incomparable legacy in the world of dance, culture and academia. In these areas he has left an indelible mark," Patterson said.

Scholarships were presented to Patrick Pinnock, 2015 head boy of Cornwall College, for exhibiting "the promise of Professor Nettleford". Kemar Francis, a student at the School of Dance, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, received the JNGI/Rex

Nettleford Dance Scholarship. Francis also dances with the NDTC.

SPECIAL AWARD  

Receiving a special award was musician Marjorie Whylie, retired director of music for the NDTC Singers, for her 50 years of dedicated voluntary service.

The tributes in song included presentations by the UWI Singers, who did Ave Maria and The Lord's Prayer under the direction of Franklin E. Halliburton, and Fly Away Home, arranged by Ewan Simpson and O'Neal Mundle with soloist Stephan Sinclair. Oluwa was arranged by Ron Kean, with soloist Shana Lee Brown, and I Pledge (words by V.S. Reid, music by Gustav Holst), arranged by Halliburton, with soloist Marcelle Thomas. The UWI Singers also did excerpts from a Jamaican opera, arranged by Halliburton.

Among the dance tributes performed by members of the NDTC were 'Six', choreographed by Shelley Maxwell; excerpts from Arsenio Andrade Calderon's 'Dimensions' and Troy Powell's 'Unscathed'.

Ending the evening on a high note was Rex Nettleford's signature piece 'Kumina', superbly brought to life by Marlon Simms (who is also the NDTC's assistant artistic director) as the Kumina King and Keita-Marie Chamberlain as the vivacious Kumina Queen.

In an excerpt from a literary tribute to Nettleford, the foundation described him as the quintessential Caribbean man, grounded in his culture and history, rejoicing in its richness and texture, astute to its frailties, and passionate about its preservation and celebration.

Patrick Pinnock, Cornwall College’s head boy for 2015, receives the Rex Nettleford Foundation Scholarship from Dr Joseph Pereira (centre), former deputy principal, UWI. Looking on is Elizabeth Buchanan, executive director, Rex Nettleford Foundation.

The NDTC dancers paying tribute to the company’s late co-founder Rex Nettleford with the Troy Douglas dance, ‘Unscathed’, at a recent celebration of Nettleford’s life, hosted by the Rex Nettleford Foundation at the Little Theatre.

Marjorie Whylie (centre) receives the Rex Nettleford Foundation Award from Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa, deputy principal, UWI, during the foundation’s recent celebration of the life and work of the late Professor Nettleford at the Little Theatre. Elizabeth Buchanan, executive director, Rex Nettleford Foundation, shares in the occasion.

Professor Rex Nettleford: File Photo

The spirit of the late Professor Rex Nettleford permeated the Little Theatre, Tom Redcam Avenue, St Andrew, recently as members of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) paid tribute to its late co-founder in song and dance.

    In Nettleford's Name - Foundation

     Honours Late NDTC Co-Founder

      Published: February 23, 2016

Folktales choreographed by Clive Thompson

From left: Barry Moncrieffe, Noel Dexter and Elizabeth Buchanan-Hind

UWI Singers in performance

'Gerrehbenta', choreographed by Rex Nettleford

The spirit of the late Professor Rex Nettleford permeated the Little Theatre, Tom Redcam Avenue, St Andrew, recently as members of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) paid tribute to its late co-founder in song and dance.It was high-quality entertainment at the Little Theatre recently when the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) and the UWI Singers came together to honour the late Professor Rex Nettleford in song and dance.

Organised by the Rex Nettleford Foundation, the annual event, titled 'Remembering Rex', took on a special meaning. The NDTC, co-founded by Nettleford, is celebrating its 55th anniversary in 2017, and so in addition to the performances, there were presentations of awards and scholarships to mark the milestone achievement.

The honourees were founding member of NDTC Bridget Spaulding and UWI Singers' musical director and composer Noel Dexter. The inaugural Rex Nettleford Foundation Rex Nettleford Hall Award was presented to Dr Nicole Nation. In making the announcement, Elizabeth Buchanan-Hind, executive director of the foundation, said the award would be annual and would be presented to a student of the hall who exemplified qualities of the late vice-chancellor, as well as exhibited potential. Taje Platte, a past student of the professor's alma mater, Cornwall College, was the recipient of the Rex Nettlford Scholarship.

Before and after the presentation of awards, the two-part entertainment package saw the UWI Singers and the NDTC alternating on stage. The UWI singers got their musical entrÈe going with M. Thomas Cousin's Glorious Everlasting. They followed up with All Things Bright and Beautiful by John Rutter. After giving a splendid rendition of Funiculi, Funicula, led by soloists Anthony Alexander, Kester Bailey and Franklin Haliburton, they invited the audience to join them in singing Happy Birthday to Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen, who was in the audience.


MOVING TO THE BEAT

The group's second performance came in the form of soloist Ranice Barrett. She gave a stirring performance of Giulio Caccini's Ave Maria. Their final selection, Revival Bands, had the audience moving to every beat. The AndrÈ Bernard-arranged piece saw the group abandoning their red and black costumes for white attire accentuated with red or blue head and waistbands. The revival medley included songs such as Roll Call and Botheration.

Revival Bands was an ideal segue to the NDTC'S closing dance, 'Gerrehbenta', choreographed in 1983 by Rex Nettleford. The hybrid dance, boasting two of Jamaica's major traditional rites, 'Gerreh' and 'Dinky-Mini', was performed by the full company. As Nettleford and his peers did decades ago, the dancers captivated the audience with colourful costumes and well-coordinated moves. The iconic Jamaican dance company also performed 'Folktales', choreographed in 2003 by another NDTC co-founder, Clive Thompson. It was performed by eight dancers who captured the playfulness and romance in the lyrics of the folksong medley.

Sandwiched between the founders' dances were those of the next and present generations - Renee McDonald's 2016 revised choreography, 'Into the Blue', and Kerry-Ann Henry's emotive performance of Tony Wilson's 'Weeping Widow'.

The Most Hon P. J. Patterson, a director of The Nettleford Foundation, gave the welcome remarks.

   High-Quality Entertainment
    Remembering Rex

      Monday | February 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM     Marcia Rowe