One of the pioneers of creative dance in Dominica was the late Mabel Cissie Cauderion who experimented with various Dominican and Caribbean dance steps, costumes and stories to produce various creative works. Creative dance in Dominica in the early stages was also performed by groups like La Belle Theatre, Brother Estrada's dance group, Downtown Dancers and individuals such as Roosie Richards and Marc Matthews.
The early seventies saw the birth of dance groups such as the Waitukubuli Dance Theatre Company, the Kai Cayre Dance Troupe, the Arawak Dance Group and the Rabiatu Dance Group. The Waitukubuli Dance Theatre Company has been able to weather several storms and has persevered with he artform and today it celebrates forty-one years of creative dance.
The National school of Dance founded by the National Cultural Council in 1984 has helped to strengthen the creative dance form in Dominica and the addition of creative dance to the competition during the Independence celebrations has encouraged the formation of several dance groups across the country. We have seen creative dance presentations by groups from Woodford Hill, Portsmouth, Cockrane, Scotts Head and Mahaut.
Creative dance is not restricted as our folk dance. The art form allows for great interpretation of ideas, form and movement. It can recreate an aspect of history, it can dramatize a particular social issue, and it can celebrate the richness and vitality of our culture.
The main builder of the creative dance form in Dominica - the Waitkubuli Dance Theatre Company - has performed hundreds of different dances using mainly Dominican and Caribbean music, themes and costumes. The Waitukubuli Dance Theatre Company has rooted itself in the resources and realities of its home county and region and has successfully produced a style of creative dance which identifies with the culture and heritage of the people of Dominica and the Caribbean.
Creative dance therefore, is an integral part of our culture. It can excite and entertain as well as inform and edify. It is a powerful artistic vehicle for the expression of the soul of a people and a nation.
While a lot more emphasis is usually placed on folk dance, we must be aware of the fact that our folk dances came out of a creative process as well and that it was out of a period of experimentation our folk dances emerged.
The creative process in dance or art or music is very important therefore and we need to encourage it together with the traditional.
Extracted from: Dominica's Arts & Culture Magazine, Division of Culture, 1994
by Raymond Lawrence