I attended the 21st Anniversary Gala Performance of the L’ACADCO Dance Company at the Ward Theatre in Kingston, Jamaica, on Sunday, December 19, 2004. The pieces were brilliant, provocative and challenging and touched on various aspects of life in Jamaica, the wider Caribbean and around the world.
The most evident national and cultural influences in the dance interpretations included Jamaica – our dancehall theme, some historic elements of slavery and a woman’s normal daily thoughts and feelings as she goes about caring for her family, amongst others; ancient Egypt, exploring life in a Pharoah’s temple; Ghana, including a restaged war dance “Agbekor”; Haiti and others. They covered and interpreted humanity’s common issues of poverty, disease, disconnectedness and heartache whilst celebrating the joyful effervescence of the human spirit that continues to overcome and transform these.
Jamaica’s well-regarded dub poet, Jean Binta Breeze was the guest performer during this 21st Anniversary season. Her wonderful piece dedicated to Mother Africa and Mother Earth was incorporated into the dance “To Haiti”, celebrating Haiti’s 200th anniversary of Independence this year. The poem had a rousing, hypnotic chorus chant that included “Rememba Mother Africa, Rememba Mother Earth.”
The dance piece, set in a cane field, explored the slave trade, expressed a woman’s lament and included a segment to the chorus of the song ’96 Degrees In The Shade’ that looked at the question of national identity and cultural domination. It ended with an inspiring acknowledgment of the work that still remains to transform humanity’s consciousness so that racial, national, cultural and gender divisions are completely dissolved. “To Haiti” was popularly received and was my personal favourite.
I’d like to take this opportunity to salute a stalwart Jamaican visionary and artist, L’Antoinette Stines, Founder and Artistic Director of L’ACADCO (The L’Antoinette Carimod Dance Company) and originator of L’Antech, L’Antoinette’s signature dance technique.
I’d also like to thank all the performers – dancers, drummers and dub poet – and the guest choreographers, who all so richly expressed their passion, talents and gifts. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will hold the vision of L’ACADCO travelling the entire planet expressing and sharing it’s unique Caribbean dance perspective.
If a L’ACADCO performance reaches your location, be sure to attend! I would love to get your feedback.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and compliments of the Season!!!