Marlon D. Simms was appointed Artistic Director of the NDTC in 2018 following the retirement of former Artistic Director Barry Moncrieffe. Prior to his appointment he served as the Associate Artistic Director for 4 years (2014-2017) He also held the post of Dance Captain for 5 years (2009-2013) after being appointed by Co-Founder and past Artistic Director Prof. The Hon. Rex Nettleford.
Simms’ dance journey began at St. Jago High School where he was a leading and award winning male dancer through the Jamaica Development Commission (JCDC) Dance Competition. He was awarded a summer intensive scholarship to the School of Dance at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where he was taught by dance luminaries Barbara Requa, Sheila Barnett and Barry Moncrieffe. It wasn’t until his sojourn at The University West Indies Dance Society that he was invited by former NDTC Ballet Mistress Arlene Richards to join the Company. He quickly rose in the company to be a frontline dancer due to his technical and interpretive skills, commitment to process, discipline, passion and strong sense of purpose. He appeared as lead in several seminal works which includes Tintinabulum (1997), Spirits at A Gathering (1995), Ritual of the Sunrise (1998), Gerrehbenta (1983), Dis Poem (1988), Kumina (1971) and Malungu (2013).
His first successful choreographic work on the Company was Millennial Beings (1999) but it wasn’t until he returned from pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Choreographic Theory and Practice on a full scholarship at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in 2005 that he began to seriously focus on choreography. He has done several works for the Company’s annual Season of Dance and Morning of Movement and Music as well as with other dance companies and groups locally and overseas. His last work to have received critical acclaim was Beres on Love (2016) in tribute to reggae superstar Beres Hammond.
Simms has travelled and performed extensively with the Company and as a solo performance artist to England, Canada, USA, the Caribbean and South America. He has taught and conducted workshops in choreography, technique, performance and dance education within the Caribbean with an aim to develop dance in the region. Between performing and directing the Company, he co-produces the NDTC journal and oversees the Company’s trainee programme and Education arm. He is also the current Dean of the School of Dance at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.