top of page

New Waves! 2023 Full Program

New Waves! 2023 WELCOME

// New Waves! 2023

Friday, July 28, 2023 at 2:00:00 PM UTC

After 4 years, New Waves! Institute returns to Trinidad & Tobago from 28 July to 1 August (Emancipation Day). We will embody the depth and spirit of contemporary dance and performance practice in the Caribbean and its Diasporas - in an organizing principle of ‘Emancipation’ - and connect in essential ways that alters and brings out light in one another. In marking the Institute Land Cooperative, New Waves! also includes community builders, farmers, gardeners, and traditional medicine healers to join us. All are invited to invoke a practice that includes dance, song, word, and play; to create a space where we can “dance and be healed from the laborious hierarchies of imperialism and colonization; a space where we could “each re-strategize our own personal vision”.

New Waves! 2023 involves a convening of the Caribbean Performance Studies Project, led by Institute Director, Makeda Thomas, including “Fastening the Web: ChoreoNommo and the Practice of Naming" by Thomas Talawa Presto performances of “Virago” by Neila Ebanks, “Zero Homers” by Shamar Watt, “Rent-a-Tile” by Chris Walker, and Sheena Rose; workshops led by Dr. Yanique Hume, Kieron Sargeant, Michelle Gibson of The New Orleans Original BuckShop; a Gayap in Cauracas with Gillian Goddard and so much more! 5 days of performance, workshops, discussions, communal meals, planting, and limes. Let's Dance!

Caribbean Performance Studies Project

// Makeda Thomas

Friday, July 28, 2023 at 3:00:00 PM UTC

Performance Lecture: “Fastening the Web: ChoreoNommo and the Practice of Naming"

// Thomas Talawa Presto

Friday, July 28, 2023 at 5:00:00 PM UTC


As an artist and researcher, my practice of Choreonommo is deeply rooted in the concept of Nommo, which refers to the power of the word to affect direct change in the world, both physically and metaphysically. This practice is grounded in the understanding of the performativity of words, gestures, rhythm, and movement, and the ability to imbibe knowledge through the use of language. In the Caribbean and African diaspora, the use of language, tone, and rhythm can change the meaning of a word, creating new understandings and identities.

The practice of Nommo in Choreonommo is not only about engaging with one's own identity, but also about creating new identities and worlds through the manipulation of language and movement. This approach is influenced by Dogon tradition, where Nommo is a central figure in creation mythology, believed to be the first living creature created by the sky god Amma and the origin of the first Hogon (spiritual leader and channeler of ancestral knowledge). The Dogon also see Nommo as a powerful deity, capable of giving life to humans through sacrificing their bodies, which is said to be a reference to the ability to generate and create reality.

In Choreonommo, Nommo is applied to the choreography and movement as a means of communication and expression, imbued with meaning and significance. The movements and gestures of the dancer are seen as a way of bringing the word to life and making it physically manifest, in line with the idea of embodiment. I learnt about Nommo from Baba Buntu, the founder of Norway's first Afrocentric youth organization, Afrikan Youth in Norway. As such, my development as a young artist was founded on this concept.

This approach highlights the importance of the artist's relationship with their community, and the role that art plays in fostering connection, understanding, and growth for all involved. Choreonommo encourages participation in the word, rather than being passive listeners, and it is a way of consecrating space and time, taking into account the concept of Sankofa, which refers to the Akan concept of looking back to the past in order to move forward. The emphasis on Ubuntu, the interconnectedness of all people and the importance of community, is also important in Choreonommo.

As part of this practice, the creation of new terminology is crucial, as it allows for the expression of concepts and ideas that are not fully captured by existing terminology. This self-referential and daring use of language is not an act of arrogance, but rather an act of performance, honoring the practice of Nommo and the ancestors who also engaged in this practice of world-making and creation.

In my PhD research and accompanying paper, I will be highly self-referential, creating new language to better tell the story of the Choreonommo practice and the practitioners who engage in it. Only when other theories and theorists better capture the essence of the practice will they be referenced, but the ultimate goal is to tell my own story and the stories of those adjacent to me, rather than having to use others' words.

This artistic engagement of Choreonommo is an important aspect of the practice of Anansi the storyteller and trickster, where one seeks to trick the language to do one's bidding, to allow for embodiment and existence in the world through the creation of new words and language. It is also a form of sacrifice to the community, as the act of challenging what is structured and existing through the act of naming and performing, is always a challenge and it requires a willingness to be on the barricades, against racism, against misnomering.


// "Virago" by Neila Ebanks, "Zero-Homers" by Shamar Watt, "Rent-a-Tile" by Chris Walker, and Sheena Rose

Friday, July 28, 2023 at 11:00:00 PM UTC

VIRAGO (2023)

As a deep dive into embodiments, manifestations and contradictions of BadGyalness* this performance work, ‘Virago’, asks: At what price, ‘ladyness’?

From Yaa Asantewaa to Durga to Grandy Nanny to Cécile Fatiman to Tituba to Lilith, global herstories of BadGyalness abound. These exemplars become archetypes of the generative and revolutionary necessity of wild feminine knowingness, assertiveness, strategy and rage in progressions towards more evolved humanities.

In Jamaica, however, those traits, while expected of men-identifying folk, are decried when experienced through feminine form or essence. Colloquially , the term ‘virago’ is used pejoratively to describe a woman-identifying or femme person who has no allegiance to the mask of the genteel. Virago flouts the expected silence of the ‘ladylike’ and divests from civil gentility, to instead loudly proclaim, in full body, that all is not right in the moment. Virago will quarrel, shout, fight and ‘skin out’ to disrupt moral pretense and to defend honour and dignity. This fight for freedom appears hardening, with no place for softness, but the dichotomy is false and virago as consciousness must also find latitude and balance through fierce tenderness.

The work, then, wants to explore a virago consciousness not as an ‘indisciplined’ and arbitrary vexation to spirit, but as a necessary, embodied agitation of spirit against injustices, seeking vibrational balance points of equity in a world so insidiously skewed towards the protection and proliferation of cis-hetero patriarchal ideals and structures.

* term coined by brilliant St. Lucian artist and Caribbean culture activist-archivist Fiona Compton

“One of Jamaica’s most exciting dancer-choreographers”, Neila-Ann Ebanks is Artistic Director of eNKompan.E™ and Acting Director of Studies at the Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts (EMCVPA) School of Dance.



“A universe where infant civilizations on young worlds might call out into the darkness, seeking reprieve from the seemingly endless cosmic loneliness only to find that they have revealed themselves to a hunter in the dark, whose weapon is now squarely focused upon them. This is the reality of life within the dark forest, but there are some who master this universe.

“Zero-homers” because it’s not like just one is just like it is it OK if I little building mechanic quantum event horizon hands information to Hawking radiation... Will the Maroon master him-selves?

“Zero Homers” probes questions about the black cosmic body, blackness, temporality, place of habitation and place of origins.. “Zero Homers'' is an interdisciplinary investigation.”

BongoWattZ is an experimental multidisciplinary independent artist born in Kingston (Jamaica) raised in Miami, based in Miami and New York City. One of Dance Magazine’s 2019 top 25 performers/choreographers, a 2018 Bessie Nominee, and a 2019 Bessie Awardee for Outstanding Performance, Wattz is driven by the behaviors of black frequencies as they shift energy, space and matter on a quantum level. Wattz seeks to foster new desires in the imaginations of this generation and the generations to come, as these new desires feed back into the ancient.


RENT-A-TILE (2021)


Sheena Rose ( b.1985) is a visual artist who works in Barbados. Sheena is a Fulbright Scholar and holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Sheena's multi-disciplinary practice involves paintings, drawings, performance art, new media, public art, and mixed media. Sheena has exhibited internationally and been featured in The New York Times, Travel & Leisure Magazine, Vogue, Hospitality Design, White Wall, Wetranfer, Black Futures, Fox Television Empire Season 6, The Star Side of Bird Hill written by Naomi Jackson. In 2019, she created a two-story mural at the Inter- American Development Bank Headquarters in Washington DC. Sheena also created nine feet tall women mural for an exhibition called "The Other Side of Now" in the Perez Art Museum Miami and won the DSM Public Art Foundation commission to design 7 bus shelters in 6th Avenue Corridor, Iowa USA. Sheena received a 2020 Greensboro School of Art Distinguished Alumni award and a 2022 award from Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley for Culture.

"Transcending Spirit in the Dances of the Wake: An Immersive Embodied Experience"

// Dr. Yanique Hume 

Saturday, July 29, 2023 at 3:00:00 PM UTC

"Transcending Spirit in the Dances of the Wake: An Immersive Embodied Experience" An exploration of the dances of the Caribbean Wake Complex.

This is a full immersive study of sacred dance practices. Participants will explore the dances of the Caribbean Wake Complex; an exploration of embodied knowledge from the sacred vantage point of Ancestral wisdom as it pertains to the cycle of life. Movements will be taken from Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba with aspects from Trinidad and Grenada.

Dr. Yanique Hume is an interdisciplinary scholar, priestess, dancer, and choreographer who specializes in the festive and sacred arts and popular cultures of the Caribbean and broader African Diaspora. She is Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. Dr. Hume is the co-editor of Caribbean Cultural Thought: From Plantation to Diaspora (2013); Caribbean Popular Culture: Power, Politics and Performance (2016); and Passages and Afterworlds: Anthropological Perspectives on Death in the Caribbean (2018). As a dancer and choreographer, Dr. Hume has worked with companies in her native Jamaica as well as in Cuba, Haiti, and Brazil. She is the recipient of grants from the Social Science Research Council, the International Development Research Centre, Ford Foundation, and the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

Movement Workshop: "Engine Room"

// Kieron Sargeant

Saturday, July 29, 2023 at 7:00:00 PM UTC

The Engine Room - “Sweating the Culture”

This workshop will look at how culture is put to work. A “sweat” is an event where dancers and drummers from across different cultural companies and communities amateur and professional of different ages come together to exchange rhythm movement and practice. This is in order to experience a community of practice, affirm a cultural core, and sweat out stress and worry.

Kieron Dwayne Sargeant is a Trinidadian-born interdisciplinary artist, choreographer, dancer, and dance researcher emerging out of the African-Caribbean tradition. Sargeant received an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Florida State University and MA in Community Dance Practice from Ohio University. Over the past 20 years, he has been involved in documenting, assessing, and analyzing dance traditions of the Caribbean and establishing a canon of dance teachings and workshops, informed by his research, to popularize the ancestral survival of movement traditions between the Circum-Caribbean and Western Africa. His research focuses on the emerging field of African Caribbean and African Diaspora dance practices. In particular, his work explores both regenerative and deconstructionist methodological approaches to engaging with African Traditional Trinidadian Dances for the commercial and contemporary dance world. His artistic practice includes translating sacred cultural and spiritual practices into artistic practices, resulting in dance works for the concert stage. He has performed works by Merce Cunningham, Charles O. Anderson, Tiffany Rhynard, and Milka Djordjevich among many others. In 2020 he founded and launched the Kieron Sargeant Dance and Dance Education Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago, which is a new platform for artists/dancers to nurture their creativity, inspire their environments, and empower themselves and the future of the arts industry in Trinidad and Tobago. From August 2021 to March 2022 Mr. Sargeant was a collaborator on a Mellon funded project, Writing the Body with Dr. Lara Cahill-Booth, an English professor at Miami Day College. Sargeant was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Contemporary Forms of the African Diaspora at the University of Iowa during the 2021-22 academic year.

Workshop: "Zero Homers"

// Shamar Watt

Saturday, July 29, 2023 at 9:00:00 PM UTC

“Zero Homers” probes questions about the black cosmic body, blackness, temporality, place of habitation and place of origins.. “Zero Homers'' is an interdisciplinary investigation.”


// Gillian Goddard

Sunday, July 30, 2023 at 2:00:00 PM UTC

Institute @ Cauracas Land Cooperative

In 2022, the Dance and Performance Institute made the following public announcement, two years after first stating its intention to develop a Land Cooperative:

15 acres of land in Maracas/St. Joseph.

Through the powers of community, and in the spirit of decolonization, reindigenization, and all that is rite (yes!) and good, the Institute is pleased to announce our collaboration with the Cauracas Cooperative. The Institute’s work, in addition to stewarding the land in community, is to build a legacy of land for the arts: studio space in the natural forest, housing for artists-in-residence, a writing centre, an organic farm, and healing gardens. To make this announcement as we celebrate Emancipation - the pinnacle of every phenomenal New Waves! past and future - is a reflection of our rooting in the “depth and spirit of dance and performance practice in the Caribbean and its Diasporas, in an organizing principle of ‘Emancipation’”.

Communal land for farming, art, and healing; a platform of intentionality; a performance of resistance to white supremacist capitalist patriarchy; the building of a legacy of land for the arts. A praxis of collective liberation and a space of empowerment, creativity and critical thinking. A future for Black, Indigenous, and Artists of Color in the Caribbean. Grown in Indigenous philosophies of land and community development in a local Caribbean-based economies, the Land Cooperative offers artists investment in land, and through shared responsibility, financial gain from income the land provides. Through this Land Cooperative, we look forward to building a future for the Dance and Performance Institute that is literally grounded in the land of beautiful Iere. Let’s Dance!

The Institute’s partner on the Cauracas Land Cooperative is Gillian Goddard. In 2022, Gillian was recognized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) as one of its “Leaders of Rurality of the Americas”. Gillian opened Trinidad and Tobago’s first organic food store - Sun Eaters Organics - and founded the nonprofit Alliance of Rural Communities (ARC), which enlightens farmers about the value of natural resources, ensures their role in public policy development and facilitates their access to the requisite financial tools.The organization encouraged cocoa farmers to produce artisanal chocolate and develop community-owned businesses in Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia and Guyana. ARC also forged linkages between Caribbean and African cocoa producers to create the Cross Atlantic Chocolate Collective, with members from nine African countries. Gillian has been stewarding the land at Cauracas for a decade and has collaborated with the Dance and Performance Institute over those years - hosting artists-in-residence on the land and leading workshops through her work with ARC.

This project is envisioned as being designed with care for the natural and cultural history of the site. Chosen for its surrounding nature, including a natural spring, the site is near the pre-Columbian Caurita Petroglyph (or Caurita Stone) - a 6x8’ boulder baring carvings by the First People of Trinidad. We imagine a procession of flexible volumes that connect open spaces, including a main outdoor kitchen to support communal cooking and gathering, terraces and artists suites, and a large covered dance studio with open walls. By this way, indoors becomes outdoors, achieving an intimacy with nature. The design will use on-site materials in construction, with structures of local forest lumber and stone, surrounded by forest gardens - an Indigenous agricultural practice - of food and a diversity of medicinal plants.

Let's Dance!

Movement Workshop: "Revitalising the Ghost"

// Thomas Talawa Presto

Monday, July 31, 2023 at 3:00:00 PM UTC

As dancers in the African diaspora, we often find ourselves performing to pre-recorded music. This can sometimes feel like we are working with a mere ghost of the music, as the sounds are no longer alive and evolving. But with the use of traditional performance techniques, we can bring new life to this ghost and revitalize the music in ways that captivate and engage both us and the audience.

One of the key techniques we use to revitalize the ghost is multimodal rhythmic modulation. This involves intentionally manipulating rhythm in music to create a specific aesthetic experience that engages multiple senses. By using optic, sonic, and tactile rhythms, we can rearrange our attention to the music and create a synesthetic relationship to the sounds and movements we hear and see.

For example, in our performances, we might use optic rhythm to respond to the visual cues of the music and add new accent or layers to the performance. By tracing the less dominant aspects of the composition and bringing them to the forefront, we create a dynamic and engaging experience for both ourselves and the active audience.

Our ethero rhythm, which encompasses our sense of memory, aesthetics, history, and relationship to the music and movement, is also a crucial aspect of revitalizing the ghost. By tapping into this embodied experience, we can create a deeper connection to the music and bring new meaning and significance to the performance.

The ultimate goal of revitalizing the ghost is to create a dynamic, shared experience of rhythm that brings people together in a cypher or circle of rhythm. By responding to the music and adding our own unique contributions, we create a space where we can connect to each other and the music in new and meaningful ways. This form of performance is highly affective and has the power to revitalize both the dancer and the audience, bringing new life to the ghost of pre-recorded music.

Movement Workshop: "The New Orleans Original Buckshop"

// Michelle Gibson

Monday, July 31, 2023 at 5:00:00 PM UTC

Michelle N. Gibson, the Artist Michelle N. Gibson, MFA
Aka Mz. G

Choreographer, Cultural Ambassador, Grand Marshal, Educator, Mother, Preacher’s Daughter, and Performing Artist received her BFA in Dance from Tulane University and her MFA in Dance from Hollins University/ The American Dance Festival at Duke University. Mz. G’s teaching practice and choreographic works range from genres of the African Diaspora, Contemporary / Codified Modern Techniques, Afro Funk, Jazz, and HER OWN New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic. Cultivating her craft over the years in an effort to preserve, engage, and honor Mz. G has been teaching and creating spaces that are firmly rooted in New Orleans Black rituals, ceremonies, and lifestyles gathered. This concept of her own “Second Line Aesthetic ” branded into workshops entitled The New Orleans Original BuckShop LLC. The N.O. BUCKSHOP involves both technical and improvised movement, utilization of brass sound, and communal ritual. Ministering her aesthetic, techniques, and personal experiences aboard in both Haiti and France, she honors and gives homage to her Southern roots and the spiritual / improvisational impulses of the New Orleans Africanist lifestyle.

A ten year faculty member with the American Dance Festival, full time dance faculty at Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas TX is currently a candidate working towards receiving the Katherine Dunham Technique Certification. Facilitator, lecturer, and choreographer,
has created works at various intensives, institutions and universities not to mention choreographic
directing for several theater companies and collaborative live arts productions with artist such as Erykah Badu and Alejandra Robles, organizations locally, in the U.S and internationally. Practitioner and freelance artist presently living in Dallas TX, Grand Marshal Michelle N. Gibson dedicates her rooted energies, spiritual alignment , pedagogical practice, and performance based art geared toward culturally uplifting and cultivating communities nationwide and the world.

Movement Workshop: "Caribbean Dance - Beach Class"

// Chris Walker

Monday, July 31, 2023 at 8:30:00 PM UTC

From Macqueripe to Ti Mouillage to Maracas Beach, Chris Walker's Caribbean Dance class is a beloved New Waves! tradition. Featuring live drummers and concluding with a swim in the sea.

Chris Walker, an artist and the director of the Division of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Walker is a professor in the School of Education’s Department of Dance, as well as the founding artistic director of First Wave, a prominent U.S. national scholarship program known for pushing the boundaries of poetry, dance, theater and art.

Walker is a multi-hyphenate contemporary dance and performance artist. Rooted in “Resistance Aesthetics,” Walker’s work draws upon the danced rituals, mas traditions, and embodied performance history of the African diaspora. His research intersects dance choreography for the concert stage with collaborations with visual and performance artists for museum, alternate spaces, professional theatre, and video/film, as well as developed the pedagogical framework known as the First Wave Process. Let's Dance!

Emancipation Day Procession

// New Waves! 2023 Emancipation Day Procession

Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at 2:00:00 PM UTC

Emancipation Day Procession

"Eat Little and Live Long: AIR Showings"

// New Waves! 2023 Artists in Residence

Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at 10:00:00 PM UTC

Six dance artists and scholars will join us as the New Waves! 2023 Artists-in-Residence.

Since 2010, The Dance & Performance Institute’s Artist in Residence Program has hosted artists from around the world who have engaged in the performance, study, research, teaching, and experimentation of movement and ideas of particular resonance to Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. The breadth of these residencies guide the spirit of the Institute as a site “where vital conversations on the body, movement, cultural production, hybridity and diaspora could be had; where dominant discourses on art and culture could be challenged and where new progressive languages could be spoken”. New Waves! 2023 Artist-in-Residence Program Coordinator: Kearra Amara Gopee

bottom of page