Arts & Culture

Yendi’s back

Yendi Phillipps for NDTC recital

Sunday, March 25, 2018

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Beauty queen and model Yendi Phillipps is returning to the stage as a dancer.

The former Miss Jamaica World and Miss Universe Jamaica is being featured as one of the performers at the 37th annual Morning of Music and Movement organised by the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC) next Sunday at the Little Theatre in St Andrew.

As a teenager, Phillipps was a dancer with the company, having been selected by co-founder and then artistic director, the late Professor Rex Nettleford.

Phillipps is set to perform two works — I Grieve and Shabach. The latter has been created by guest choreographers Sherona McAllister and Charissa Allwood of OBOG Dance Company Ministry.

The Jamaica Observer caught up with Phillips a month ago at the dance intensive organised by Plié for the Arts and conducted by Terk Lewis and Addison Ector of the world-renowned Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York. At that time she noted that dance remains in her blood and participating in the dance intensive was a way of keeping in touch with the art form.

“I heard about these guys coming here to give these master classes and I just wanted to see where my body could go. At my age I just want to be in a position to enjoy dance and I still get a thrill out of participating, and this has been really great. Just seeing where I can go has been a thrill,” said Phillipps.

The annual sunrise event, which begins at 6:00 am, also has added significance, as it will be the first under the leadership of newly appointed Artistic Director, Marlon Simms and Acting Musical Director Heston Boothe.

He was appointed in January of this year, becoming the third person to hold that title in the NDTC's 55 years of existence. He succeeds Barry Moncrieffe who retired at the end of 2017. Nettleford was the company's first artistic director.

The repertoire will include excerpts of dance works from Nettleford ( Katrina and Cave's End), Clive Thompson ( Of Prophecy and Song) and Kevin Moore ( Mercy). The cast of dancers will be led by Simms and Ballet Mistress Kerry-Ann Henry with Mark Phinn, Tamara Noel, Marisa Benain, Patrick Earle, Paul Newman, Kamar Tucker, Sophia McKain. They will be supported by new generation dancers Kemar Francis, Michael Small, Javal Lewis, Rachel Walter, Shade Thaxter, Mishka Williams, Joelle Flimn, Nneka Staple and Malikah Johnson.

Boothe has selected music including uplifting Negro spirituals and Contemporary gospel arrangements.

— Richard Johnson

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