TO remember Noble Douglas is to think of her as a dancer at the height of power, her energy and force, her expressiveness, and how she would use her body to fill a space.
In her 45-year career in Trinidad she has been dancer, choreographer, actor and teacher. But in whatever role, it is her spirit that lights up a room and stays with you. On May 18, at a benefit concert at Queen’s Hall in St Anns, this spirit that has inspired hundreds – maybe thousands – of young people to dance even when they were not dancers, will be celebrated.
Douglas graduated from the London College of Dance and Drama at the end of the 1960s before heading to Martha Graham’s company in New York. Together with a group of black choreographers, she presented dance to many communities. She worked with Russian choreographer, Lar Lubovitch, and was apprenticed at the Graham Dance Company. She returned to Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1970s.
In 1974, Douglas joined Derek Walcott’s Trinidad Theatre Workshop which provided her first acting roles in Dream on Monkey Mountain, Ti-Jean and his Brothers and The Joker of Seville. She was a member of Astor Johnson’s Dance Company, and later teamed up with Carol La Chapelle to form the Trinidad Theatre Dance Workshop Company. In 1975, the Lilliput Children’s Theatre was born. By 1985, she started her own company, Noble Douglas Dance Company Inc (NDDCI). By the time she was no longer dancing, Douglas had created and continues to manage the annual children’s vacation camp at Queen’s Hall where all the major arts are taught. Over the years, Douglas’s unrelenting use of her body has taken a toll. She has had major surgery on her back and now requires additional surgery, for which this benefit concert is being staged. In spite of the challenges, Douglas’s spirit is undimmed. She is looking forward to the celebration with friends, “her children” and all the people she has mentored.
The show will feature some of her creative partners – the Lilliput Children’s Theatre, Relator and Friends, 3canal, the Marionettes, Happy Williams, Invaders Steel and the legacy NDDCI. Showtime is 7 pm.
Tickets are available at Queen’s Hall Box Office; Paper Based at the Normandie; the Black Box, Woodbrook; Crosby’s St James; Kenny’s Sports, Long Circular Mall; and from members of the NDDCI and Marionettes.