FT. LAUDERDALE – Proceeds from the South Florida performance of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC) last Sunday (Feb. 13), will benefit the Rex Nettleford Foundation of the University of the West Indies.
The special three- hour performance titled “Caribbean Dance Celebration 2011” highlighted outstanding dance presentations by the internationally acclaimed dance company to a packed house of almost 900 patrons at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, as a tribute to the late Professor Rex Nettleford, O.M., who was also founder and artistic director of the NDTC.
Following his death last year, February 3, 2010, a scholarship programme was established through the Rex Nettleford Foundation and administered by the University of the West Indies.
Under the auspices of the Consulate General of Jamaica, the one-nigh performance was hosted by the Jamaica Awareness Incorporated, the Jamaica Diaspora Southern USA and the UWI Alumni Association, South Florida chapter as part of the celebrations to observe Black History Month.
The body of young and talented dancers showcased the company’s vibrant choreography and reflected the extensive repertoire which indicated the strong influence of the African ancestry in Caribbean heritage, fused also with European and Asian influence.
A featured choreography titled “Spirits at a Gathering” was one of Nettleford’s highly acclaimed works among the several performances, and illustrated a gathering of sister-friendships and brother-bonding, and the healing acceptance of differences through love, faith and mutual caring.
Jamaica’s Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths noted that the timeliness of the event was a tribute to the late Professor Nettleford celebrated during Black History Month, and told her audience that the outstanding “performance marked the cultural legacy of an Icon of our native land, an ambassador we have selflessly shared with the Caribbean Region, the world, and whose passage has been well noted in the annals of history both at home and abroad.”
Commending the organizers, the Consul General also spoke of the efforts of Jamaica Awareness, Director, Sidney Roberts for his commitment to celebrate and enhance the cultural energy of the Caribbean community, the continuation of work well begun in providing scholarships, and the pride and achievements of our cultural luminaries.
Gold medalist, dub poet Malachi Smith, recited “Kumina King” a fitting tribute he dedicated to the late Professor following his passing last year on February 3, 2010.
For the poem “Kumina King”, Smith was awarded the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) gold medal for Creative Writing in the Festival Competition Creative Writing 2010. The lengthy poem describes the life and works of the artistic and creative genius, according to Mr. Smith.
The poem has since been included among the large collection for posterity for Professor Nettleford housed at the University of the West Indies.
Among the many patrons at the performance were executives of other South Florida prestigious cultural houses, Andrew Goldberg, Vice President of the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, and Mrs. Jan Goodheart, Public Affairs Director of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.