PAS DE DEUX: Henry and Simms take centrestage.
“One of the best things about any NDTC season has to do with the many different genres that we get to explore as dancers,” says Kerry-Ann Henry, the company’s balletmistress, dishing with TALLAWAH following last Friday night’s recital of the their breathtaking 2011 season. “As a culture, we are mixed with so many different influences, and dance is a great medium to find and explore your own identity. I feel that as Blacks we have one of the most powerful cultures in the world.”
Without confining one’s observations to her eloquent and observant take on the world of dance theatre, Henry’s trajectory to the post of balletmistress of arguably the region’s premiere dance troupe is a great subject to illustrate the power of the art form to elevate and transform. Watching her in performance you are transfixed by her poise and effortless elegance as she loses herself in the work she is doing, the story she is telling. And she has been navigating her career with remarkable beauty and flair, most recently choreographing and performing …minutes and seconds, a blissful and tender dance for two (done with Marlon Simms), which then begs the question of how she channels her innate creativity into creating such a stunning work of art.
As she tells it, choreography is a personal process. “It allows you to give insight into whatever you’re going through,” says Henry, also a dance educator. “All the pieces I’ve ever created were sparked by some idea or a particular emotion. And you then find the right music to help express that emotion.” And what of an actual performance itself? “By performing you get to tap into something on a different level. There is power and magic in it. For me, it’s an out-of-body experience,” she confesses. “I have never done drugs, but through dance you can just imagine the high that those people experience. Dancing gives me that high.”
It is for that singular reason, principally, that she encourages others to chase after their true passion. “I feel that everyone should find that one thing that takes them to that level where they feel connected,” Henry says. “Through dance, I get to tap into that. I’m so glad I am a performer.”