Spirit Dancing (Daaancing) in Patois: L’Antech as Contemporary Nation Dance Language by Lenora Antoinette Stines

For more than three centuries Eurocentrism has been the dominant ethos in the evolution of Jamaican contemporary dance. However, since political independence in 1962 there has been significant research into African retentions in the island.

This dissertation attempts to provide valid bases for a dance training process and procedure, which I have called L’Antech, that can be assessed as being pivotally engaged in Afro-Jamaican, and shared Caribbean retentions. Previous research and analysis of emerging trends are critically analysed. Furthermore, in order to advance the process of investigation beyond historical or critical analysis, certain criteria are proposed to demonstrate how those criteria have actually been developed and applied, with what, if any, degree of success.

Because this study is primarily on the development of a Jamaican contemporary dance training procedure that emphasises the African connection, a thorough examination of the traditional form of Kumina (in which the African retentions are presumed strongest; a contention that is argued for affirmation), as well as indigenous-traditional Bruckins, Nyabinghi, and Dancehall, (three other forms evolved in the post-Kumina period to the present) are also made, because it is my contention, with qualitative reasons supplied, that they should pivotally inform the training scope and direction.

The criteria for assessment within the framework of a post-modernist perspective informed by Afro-Caribbeanism, auto-ethnicity, and historiography, are made as objective as possible, to ensure scientific validity, with appreciation for any loss of accuracy due to contamination, because, as the island’s history and culture developed, geographical and ideological isolation has been impossible.

The purpose of this dissertation is essentially to move beyond the concepts of the fusion of related influences in the choreography of contemporary dances in Jamaica; to the primacy of the influence of the African aesthetic as a constructive replacement to the dominant ethos of Eurocentrism. With this in mind the concept of synerbridging is elucidated as is its role in the dance processes and procedures that seek to train dancers for public performances.

This dissertation attempts to open the intellectual gates for further formal studies into the concept of synerbridging and its development of the dance repertoire in Jamaica. Its primary focus, however, is to present L’Antech a new training procedure, and to defend its validity.

Key words: Dance Training procedure, Technique, Canon System, Indigenous, Traditional and Indigenous–Traditional, SynerBridge, Kumina, Bruckins, Nyabinghi, Dancehall, L’Antech, Rastafari, Seal, Zight, Nation Dance Languages.

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