Arts & Culture

Former NDTC dancer is dead

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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Jihan Palmer, former dancer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC)is dead. She passed away on Saturday, April 21, in New York, after battling stage four cancer. She was 36.

Artistic director of the NDTC, Marlon Simms said that Palmer's death has shaken the entire dance community.

“We are all at a loss. The immense outpouring of support while she battled cancer and the extent of the tributes now is testament to the fact that her light was bright, powerful and wide- reaching. Jihan fought hard and suffers no more,” said Simms.

The NDTC says it will pay tribute to Palmer as part of its 57th season of dance at The Little Theatre between July 20 and August 12.

Cathi Levy, artistic director for The Little People & Teen Players Club, remembers her passion for dance.

“A bright-eyed, 12-year-old Jihan Palmer walked into my life in the early 1990s and spent the better part of five years — through her teens — in The Little People & Teen Players Club (LP &TPC), being introduced to and developing her skills in multiple disciplines within the performing arts. Her gregariousness, talent and passion for the dance drove her success in the LP & TPC, and her unwavering love for her club family has cemented a spiritual bond in all our hearts that won't soon be forgotten,” said Levy.

Palmer's love for dance began at Saints Peter and Paul Preparatory School and continued when she matriculated to Campion College in 1992. She joined The Little People & Teen Players Club in 1994.

She danced with L'Acadco: a United Caribbean Dance Force for approximately three years while pursuing her Diploma in Dance at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in 2000. She joined NDTC in 2003. A year later, she was recruited by Garth Fagan Dance Company in New York and spent two years performing and touring with the internationally acclaimed company. On her return to the island in 2007, she rejoined the NDTC and danced with the company up until 2008.

Palmer is survived by her son, Rafael; stepson Anthony; mother Joan Munroe; husband Ryan; and brother Jason.

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