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» BREAKING NEWS, GUEST RUNDOWNS » THE NATIONAL DANCE THEATER COMPANY (NDTC) TO PAY HOMAGE TO BERES HAMMOND, JULY 22 – AUGUST 14!

THE NATIONAL DANCE THEATER COMPANY (NDTC) TO PAY HOMAGE TO BERES HAMMOND, JULY 22 – AUGUST 14!

By Richard Johnson—-

 Excerpts from Chris Walker’s Rough Drafts—

OVER the years, the National Dance Theater Company (NDTC) has used the music of renowned Jamaican artists as soundtracks to many of its works.

Court of Jah, choreographed by the late Rex Nettleford, was among the early examples and focused on the work of Bob Marley. He followed up with Tribute to Cliff, which was performed to tracks Many Rivers To Cross, Sitting In Limbo and other tracks by Jimmy Cliff. Dancehall music would make it into the NDTC’s repertoire with Bujurama which showcased the music of deejay Buju Banton.

Rex Nettleford

Rex Nettleford

Come July 22 to August 14, the NDTC will mount its 54th season of performance. Among the new works to premiere over the four weekends is Beres on Love, a dance work choreographed by associate artistic director of the company Marlon Simms and set to reggae singer Beres Hammond’s music.

In 2008 and 2009, Simms had the opportunity to work as a choreographer on Hammond’s signature concerts — A Moment in Time. This allowed him to fall in love with the music all over again.

Beres Hammond

Beres Hammond

“Working so close on these shows made me determined to do something Beres as it related to dance,” Simms told the

Jamaica Observer.

“Last year, I choreographed Continuum, which featured the music of reggae band Raging Fyah and that was a really good experience. It brought me back to my experience on those Beres shows and the need to choreograph to his music,” he continued.

RagingFyah:named

Simms described Hammond as a great storyteller, which makes his music an ideal canvas on which to paint a picture through dance.

“His stories are the stories of our people with that universal theme of love. So, Beres on Love looks at various forms of love and is really an episodic piece of dance theatre. It is set in a club and the performers tell stories of their experience with love. Among the Hammond songs included are Tempted To Touch, No Disturb Sign, Once Dance, No Goodbye and Love Means Never To Say Sorry, which will be performed live by the NDTC singers, with arrangements by Ewan Simpson,” said Simms.

Marlon Simms

Marlon Simms

Unlike Continuum for which he utilized the entire company, Simms brings out select dancers in an alternating cast.

Keita-Marie Chamberlain and Kerry-Ann Henry switch roles for a duet set to No Goodbye. Maia Pereira, Kevin Moore and Marisa Benain share the role in a trio with Paul Newman, Gillian Steele and Tamara Noel. Another duet will feature Kristina Graham and Kemar Francis or Mark Phinn and Terry-Ann Dennison.

NDTC Dancers

NDTC Dancers

“It is challenging to put this all together. The first thing is that it is still being worked on. Because of its theatrical nature, there are so many elements besides the dance, including set, costumes, musicians and singers. It is a task to create an interesting balance among all the aspects,” said Simms.

In addition to Beres on Love, the NDTC will three present other new works this season. Tony Wilson choreographs Weeping Widow, Chris Walker premieres Man Alone, while Kevin Moore will unveil Hommage a Dambala.

The remounts for the season are Bert Rose’s Moods, which was first staged in 1976,Labess by David Brown, and Nettleford’s Ritual of the Sunrise.

The pieces from the active repertoire which will make it to the stage are Troy Powell’s Unscathed; Renee McDonald’s Into the Blue (formerly False Awakening); Chris Walker’s Mountain Climbing; and a perennial favorite, Gerrehbenta complete the program.

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