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The Rasta’s Seduction: Dance and the Politics of Blackness in Post-Independence Jamaica

Hopkins Hall 880 Main Street, Williamstown

In the early 1960s, as Jamaica transitioned from a British Colony to an independent nation, political leaders grappled with how to create “authentic” representations of the country’s African cultural heritage to reflect Jamaica’s majority black populace. This talk seeks to historicize the makings, meanings, and political negotiations behind early nationalist dance in Jamaica, through an analysis of the repertoire of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC). The lecture focuses on “Two Drums for Babylon,” the first ballet that sought to integrate the Rastafari and their radical demands for repatriation to Africa into the island’s official story of race and nation. Amanda Reid

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