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Praise in Dance and Song - NDTC’s Morning of Movement and Dance 2012

NDTC Dancers

The story of Lazarus is one of the most popular tales in the Bible. It illustrates Jesus’ power, grace and majesty. On Easter Sunday, Clive Thompson provided a beautiful translation of that story with ‘Of Love and Sympathy’. The dance performed by Mark Phinn and Marlon Simms was easily the highlight of the National Dance Theatre Company’s Morning of Movement and Music 2012, at the Little Theatre, Tom Redcam Avenue, Kingston.

‘Of Love and Sympathy’ is beautifully evocative of grace, power and the wonderful gift of life.Thompson separated the piece into the two movements, the first focused on Jesus (Phinn) and the second on Lazarus (Simms). Phinn garbed in a costume that simulated both a robe and a rope, was regal, fluid and graceful. The ease and grace of movement contrasted beautiful with Lazarus’s initial movements as he awakened and learned to move once more.

The concert celebrates its 31st staging this year and dances such as Of Love and Sympathy illustrate the value of having the Morning of Movement and Music on the annual dance calendar, giving us the rare chance to give praise through dance. In that vein,  ‘He Watcheth’ a piece in tribute to Ed Gallimore, choreographed by Milton Sterling was another of the morning’s more memorable pieces. Sterling employed very traditional praise dance vocabulary but the ease and grace of the movements allowed it to float far above the pedestrian. Oneil Pryce’s ‘Trailing Whisp of Glory’ was beautiful in its simplicity while Marlon Simm’s ‘Requiem’ brought a moment of quiet reflection.

The morning was almost equally split between music and dance which is unusual at an NDTC show. Nonetheless, as the performance moved easily between music and movement with hardly a pause between the two, it was clear that the variation was well thought out. Additionally, the singers were able to hold their own. The morning’s musical pieces included ‘Psalm 23’, ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ and ‘Mass in A’.

The pieces shifted from thoughtful and poignant to the more joyous and celebratory with ‘Inward Stretch Outward Reach’, choreographed by Kevin Moore. ‘Inward Stretch Outward Reach’ also marked the shift to a more Afro-Caribbean vocabulary in the movement. Rex Nettleford’s ‘Ritual of the Sunrise’ illustrated the more joyous aspect of praise, highlighting that although Easter is a time for reflection it is also an occasion for giving thanks.

Psalm 150 featuring the full compliment of singers and dancers brought the morning to a satisfying and celebratory close. As the singers declared “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord,” one could not help that it was indeed a great morning of praise through movement and music.