Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 31st 2016 Contents B2
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt July 31, 2016
Williams was shot---but not killed---
during an attempted robbery on July
13, and it added to a string of vio-
lence-related tragedies that week
weighing on his colleague, Sonja
On July 5, in the US, Alton Sterling
was shot by police under question-
able circumstances in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. The next day cops shot
Philando Castile in front of his girl-
friend and four-year-old daughter
during a routine traffic stop in Min-
nesota. The very next day, in appar-
ent retaliation, a man shot and killed
five police officers in Dallas. The day
after Williams shooting, a man drove
a truck into a crowd in Nice, France,
killing 84 people including ten chil-
Dumas, who often incorporates
social messages in her work, shared
her feelings about those horrendous
nine days through a presentation
before a small audience at the art
space Alice Yard in Woodbrook.
It was the day after the Nice attack
and she had just visited Williams in
the hospital. "Luckily, it s a flesh
wound," she told the audience.
Williams name was displayed,
along with Castile s, Sterling s and
a few words about the massacres in
Dallas and Nice, in blood red letters
scrawled on sheets of tabloid-sized
newspaper, drenched in the rain,
held by members of Dumas dance
Dumas said she didn t expect the
downpour, which fit the heavy mes-
sage perfectly. Both rain and message
came at the end of a routine that
started upbeat, with the women---
dressed in 60s-style sundresses---
shaking their rumps to doo-wop
The piece is still in the making
and the final product could be com-
pletely different, said Dumas, who
orchestrated the evening but didn t
dance. She wanted to share the work
with an audience and get their feed-
back. It s Continuum s fourth annual
showcase of work-in-progress.
"I wanted to put something else
in the piece because I was so angry
at what had happened within less
than a space of a week," she said of
her thinking during recent rehearsals,
as she spoke to the audience after
Dumas said she and her troupe
"tread the line between theatre and
dance." Her work, she said, is derived
from many influences.
"Every piece starts differently,"
she said. "Sometimes it starts with
a piece of music. Sometimes it starts
with an idea. Sometimes it starts
with something I see in the world.
It could be anything---how the rain
is falling, a hummingbird, something
I see in the newspapers."
The choreography for the new
piece was influenced by a clip some-
one sent her titled Twerking in the
60s. It was actually a scene of young
couples dancing from the 1988 movie
Hairspray and the moves were too
tame to constitute twerking by
today s standards.
"It s completely repetitious," she
said of the clip. "You d think it s
boring, but because everybody does
something slightly different you re
always looking at a landscape of dif-
ferent possibilities of how it could
"It grew from there," she added.
"I started to use other motifs that
had to do with the pelvic area."
Dumas is pursuing a master s degree
in Carnival studies. The piece is in
keeping with her thesis on "wining",
the signature T&T dance.
The work was accompanied by
three tracks, including one featuring
a capella vocals from Dumas herself,
making noises that resemble those
heard from some Indian vocalists.
"It was me waking up on a morn-
ing, I just went into my iPhone and
went ta tay ta tay tay ," she said. She
took it to a sound engineer friend
to "clean up."
Dumas has shown skill in other
areas of creativity. She s made films
and a CD of children s stories.
Dumas team presented another
piece, Cross the Line. It had been
performed at Alice Yard in 2010 as
which Dumas founded with
Williams. The piece was created for
the small space, which was designed
primarily to exhibit visual art.
"The space is a non-traditional
space," Dumas said of Alice Yard. "I
love working with challenging spaces
because it forces you to figure out
how to make a statement in that
space rather than just plastering it
in front of everybody."
Two small brightly lit rooms, one
with a glass front wall and door and
the other resembling a garage, were
separated from each other by a small
courtyard. One dancer stood in the
room with the glass wall. Two other
dancers were in the other room.
They were all dressed in white.
The two dancers moved their bod-
ies, as the single dancer watched
forlornly. Eventually she began to
mimic them, and as they left their
rooms, she joined them, following
them up a narrow flight of stairs
that led to a platform atop the roof
of the room she d been in. The piece
was influenced by the song that
accompanied it, Don t Let Nobody
Drag Your Spirit Down by Eric Bibb.
Dumas danced to it in a solo piece
created just for her by Louisiana
choreographer Reggie Wilson. She
enjoyed its southern blues style and
she liked dancing to it, so she decided
to create something herself for others
to dance to.
This work also has a message,
"It was a statement about exactly
what the song was saying," she said.
"Be yourself. Don t get caught up in
a cage or a box."
PHOTOS COURTESY CURTIS BACHAN
Choreographer uses dance
to send message about violence
Continuum Dance Project and Alice
Yard on Facebook.
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