Stines bares ‘Soul’
SOUL Casings — the first book from choreographer Dr L’Antoinette Stines’s doctoral thesis — was launched at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, on Saturday.
As artistic director of L’Acadco, Stines used her company’s work to showcase each of the book’s chapters which cover her journey from a student of classical ballet in Harbour View, St Andrew, to her studies in New York, and through to the development of a Caribbean dance technique, L’Antech.
The central theme of L’Antech surrounds the fusion of what Stines refers to as ‘synerbridging’ aspects of African, Asian and European elements of dance.
This was explained in a vivid form at the launch. It was the work L’Antech Meets Reggae which showcased the technique in action.
Set to music by Bob Marley, L’Antech Meets Reggae highlighted the synthesis of the European styles with pointed toes, leg extensions and straight spinal column, and the African elements with rotation of the waist and hips.
Stines said Soul Casings seeks to assist in understanding Jamaican culture through the eyes of dance. She ably demonstrated this in Neg Mawon. In her choreography for the males in her troupe, Stines recalls the plight of slaves and offers a virtual history lesson in a similar manner to Rex Nettleford’s The Crossing and Alvin Ailey’s Revelations.
Other works used to explain the chapters in Stines’ work were Bruk It Up, which mimics the plantation era and the efforts by the enslaved to make it their own.
This sometimes humourous piece was used to bring to light her chapter on creating a national language of dance or what Stines referred to as "daaance" — used to create a difference between what is done in Jamaica as opposed to a more Eurocentric pattern. According to Stines, a follow-up to Soul Casings should be released late next year.