Grange saddened at passing of dance icon and pioneer Bert Rose

Bert Rose Bert Rose

Kingston, 1 April 2021 - The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has issued the following statement at the passing of Bert Rose:

“I am deeply saddened at the passing of Bert Rose, outstanding dancer, choreographer and creative, founding member of the NDTC and co-founder of the Jamaica School of Dance.

“Bert Rose stands among those creative artists and practitioners with which our country has been blessed since the time of our Independence. Founding member of the National Dance Theatre Company, Bertie, as he was affectionately known, enjoyed the honour of performing on the occasion of our country’s Independence. From that moment, Bertie became a part of the dance-scape of Jamaica, carving out Jamaican-Caribbean dance techniques, eager to bolster the scope of innovation that underpinned the move to create a Caribbean dance aesthetic.

“As a dancer, Bert Rose lit up every stage on which he appeared with his energy, faultless technique and enthusiasm. As choreographer, even while still performing, he brought to Jamaica’s dance development, passion, innovation and drive that resulted in new creations well received by audiences. Bertie exuded dance in his every step, discussion and creation. He felt and displayed the pulse of the Jamaican people as he took to stages across the world. From the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York, to participation in off-Broadway productions there, to his two-year stint in Austria to his performances with the NDTC across the world, Bertie was electric and electrifying.

“Bert Rose was also loved by audiences and students for his willingness to give of himself to others and to the sustaining of a Jamaican-Caribbean dance form. He taught for many years at the School of Dance and encouraged his students to strive for excellence. For him, like his many times choreographer, the late Rex Nettleford, the creation of a Jamaican-Caribbean aesthetic must be a part of our definition as an independent Jamaica.

“Later in his life, Bertie displayed his versatility and flexibility when, after retiring from the performance space, he established Rose and Company to create and provide props and technical artistic support to productions.

“As creative, his work was amazing and again well-received in government and corporate circles. His work in this area included the Grand Gala in the National Stadium and other local and national events. Again, as before, Bertie stamped his emblem on all his creations. You knew it was Bertie’s work once you saw it.

“Among the roles for which Bertie has been forever revered is his performance in Nettleford’s Dialogue for Three. Among his earliest choreographies that will always be remembered was Thursday’s Child and Glory Road. Ironically, Bert made his transition to dance on Glory Road today, Thursday of Holy Week.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, I wish to express deepest condolences to his family, including the NDTC family, friends and enthusiasts. Bertie will always be with us as his memory will loom large in every activity of creative dance that provides passion, artistic excellence, faultless technique and flair. Jamaica has indeed lost another outstanding son. He will be missed. Walk good Bertie on Glory Road.”


Minister's charge

I remain hopeful because of the giftedness of the Jamaican people; their warmth and creativity; their dynamism and indomitable spirit that have resulted in excellence in all sectors.

It is by tapping into the gifts and awakening the spirit of the Jamaican people that we will, by God’s grace, re-group, re-engineer and re-open to a brighter future with Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

Olivia Grange


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Kingston 5

Jamaica, W.I.

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