Issues in Legitimizing Caribbean Modern Dance Techniques by Aisha Comissiong

The present master’s thesis seeks to pinpoint the issues that impair and even discourage Caribbean dance practitioners from setting their sights on, actually creating, or having already created Modern Dance Techniques steeped in our very own Caribbean idioms. The approach to this research is based on Beryl Mcburnie’s sentiments that the Caribbean civilization has shied away – in a manner of speaking – from creating things that not only have relevance to their lives but also serve them developmentally as a people. Mcburnie was not alone in her questioning of how the Caribbean Civilization perceives, values preserves and disseminates its culture. With the understanding that Caribbean Modern dance techniques have the potential to fulfill this role, the question remains then – why is it that Caribbean dance creators remain disillusioned when taking on the task of creating a Caribbean modern dance technique?

Given the time constraints and the absence of a breadth of literature on this topic, the study was delimited to the Anglophone-Caribbean – specifically Barbados and Jamaica. This therefore allowed for interviews with recognized and well-respected dance icons, scholars, artistic directors, lecturers and “movers and shakers” of the dance communities in the respective countries. The following pages will attempt to wrestle with the current attitudes toward Caribbean modern dance techniques and how these have impacted on their development and success.

Key words: technique; style, Modern Dance; Caribbean Modern Dance; identity; legitimacy

Leave a Reply