Saturday, 27 April 2019

POWER & PRAISE: NDTC dancers, singers and musicians stir the soul, lift the spirit at Easter Sunday recital

SING OUT: The choir's selections ranged from classical gems to reggaefied spirituals.

EWAN Simpson made way for Heston Boothe, who has now passed the baton to Dr. Kathy Brown. She brings deft arrangement skills to this pivotal role of (Acting) Musical Director of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), with specific responsibility for the 15-member Singers, looking like Grecian artists in their full-white costumes with red strings at the waist. 

There was a vibrant sheen to their performance last Sunday morning, as they took to the stage at the Little Theatre for the traditional Easter Sunday Morning of Movement and Music. Not only was the blend of voices rousing, their suite of songs truly struck a chord.

Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” very commanding, was a solid success, providing accompaniment for the dancers (choreographed by Kevin Moore), as they opened the show. Soloist Kaydene Gordon gave an impressive rendition of “We Shall Behold Him,” followed by soprano Faith Livingstone and contralto Kimone Johnson offering a subtle, sublime take on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu.”

Led by Tah-je Thompson, the Negro spiritual “Done Made My Vow” also connected with its lovely three-part harmony. But the choir raised the bar with “You Made a Way” (led by Joshua Page), a reggaefied treatment of the Travis Greene hit. Newcomer Shane Wright, sharing the spotlight with Kamala Johnson-Nicholson, gave a solid account of his vocal prowess, taking the lead on the powerful “Bless the Lord (Son of Man),” popularized by Grammy winner Tye Tribbett.
By all appearances, the dancers poured their all into their selected pieces, and the audience responded accordingly. Clad in purple costumes, the quartet of Kerry-Ann Henry, Mishka Williams, Ashley Bromfield and Jada Buchanan offered an excerpt from Rex Nettleford’s thought-provoking Blood Canticles, which was later revisited in the programme for an excerpt led by Marisa Benain, Mark Phinn, Michael Small and Artistic Director Marlon Simms. 

Also on the programme: Kevin Moore’s Inward Stretch Outward Reach, done by a five-member all-male cast; the pas de deux Vision (from the Clive Thompson canon), rendered by the graceful Ashley Bromfield and Javal Lewis, which drew extended applause at the end.

Full of sprightly moves, Simms’ Homeland was a tropical splash of rhythm and energy. The penultimate piece for the morning, it made way for Nettleford’s Psalm 150, a live fusion of the sacred and spiritual, Noel Dexter music and earnest movement, bringing the curtains down on yet another memorable, quintessentially NDTC occasion.

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