Fifty-eight years is a long time to be involved in dance... whether it is as a dancer or choreographer. So it came as no surprise to hear Noble Douglas declare that she will be slowly pulling out from the company she started a little over 30 years ago.
Douglas was relaxing at her Woodbrook home during a break from rehearsals for her upcoming season 'Transitions' (October 20 at Queen's Hall ) when she casually mentioned her plans to ease her way out.
"I believe that I still have a lot to give to the children but only time would tell what I would do next."
Later this month, on the night before her season starts, Douglas would also enter into another phase of giving back when she launches the Noble Douglas Lilliput Foundation for the Arts (NDLFA). The foundation, she said, was something she always wanted to do given the fact that there are not many art foundations in the country.
Douglas said she gathered a bunch of her closest friends, including Margaret Walcott (who, she said, has never missed a show since she started staging performances in 1975), Wendell Manwarren, Zakiya Smart and Merylle Mahabir, to be on the board of directors. Dennise Demming, Lenore Harris and Liza Miller also serve on the board, which will be supported by patrons, former first lady Zalayhar Hassanali, Diana Mahabir Wyatt and Lilliput parent Sian Aboud.
The foundation is expected to serve as a vehicle to continue the creative work of both the Lilliput Theatre and the Noble Douglas Dance Company.
"Its aim will be to use the performing arts as a medium to stimulate young people's creative energies and build their self-confidence and self-esteem."
Douglas has hosted workshops at St Xavier's Private School, St Joseph, and at St Martin's Girls High School in Belmont and has done a lot of work with the Tall man Foundation. She has also awarded scholarships to young, talented, deserving students and has seen the impact the arts have made in the lives of people.
"The idea of Lilliput is not just about making someone an actor or actress, but to help build their character.
"This is a formula that I have seen work with my young dancers. They come here shy and leave so confident of themselves. You see a transformation."
For Transition, the dance season, Douglas said patrons can look forward to a little bit of old and a little bit of new.
"The company has gone through a transition, too, because the dancers have evolved and so have the dances.
"The entire second half, for instance, will be ethnic which is not the norm. Douglas is also expected to feature her piece "As the Sun Rises", an ode to Jouvert, featuring the music of local trumpeter Etienne Charles.
"I elaborated on the piece a bit and included people with placards to give it a more realistic Jouvert feel."
"The Dame Lorraine and the Baby Doll will still be there."
"Connections" is another Douglas original that will be staged at the show.
"I think people would enjoy the pieces done by Dave Williams, Sherid Mason, and Allan Balfour—they are very impressive.
"Transitions will run for two hours to give everyone a chance to be on stage; people actually get an intermission."
The Humming Bird Gold winner 2005 lamented the lack of performance spaces across the country and said she would like to see huge warehouses converted into performance spaces.
"The warehouse would have enough space and it would be easy to put up what is needed—like a stage and break it down right after."
Dance in T&T continues to be underappreciated by most, Douglas said.
"And I really can't blame those who don't appreciate it, because we, as dancers and choreographers, who have to make them appreciate it."
Douglas has been fortunate in that she always gets the kind of turnout she anticipates at her season's opening.
"I have had a lot of support but that doesn't come just like that. I have people who came to us as children who now work with me. It is nice that they choose to stay and help; but then again I been doing this for a number of years."
Tickets for Transition are
now on sale at Crosby's Music Centre and from October 15 at the Queen's Hall box office.
For more information, visit the NDDCI Facebook page
at www.facebook.com/nddci or
or call 367-5295.