top of page
Institute Logo2.png

The Carnival Performance Institute’s workshops, performance studies, and dialogues run alongside Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival. The program positions Carnival at the centre of performance studies and engages artists, scholars, and students in study and conversation around: how Carnival performance express unique histories and events, and intersect with nationalism, transnationalism, and global mobilities; how gender is played out in contemporary Carnival performance; and how the local context of power and meaning influence the ways in which participants think of their experience. 

Online NOW

Studies in Mas & Carnival Performance: Independent Study

"Studies in Mas & Carnival Performance" is also offered as an Independent Study, with live session recordings, text, and video accessible for a self-guided process. Email for more info.

Studies in Mas & Carnival Performance 

with Institute Director, Makeda Thomas

5 sessions. $250 USD. This module is led by Institute Director, Makeda Thomas. Guests include Marvin George, Dr. Lyndon Gill, Dr. Cathy Thomas, Dr. Adanna Jones, and Dr. Emily Zoebel-Marshall.

"Studies in Mas & Carnival Performance", the Dance & Performance Institute's online module offers critical inquiry and embodied research around mas and Carnival - the ways in which dance and movement practice is informed by Carnival praxis, how mas aesthetics and methodologies are present in the lives of Caribbean diasporic people, how spaces of queer performance in Carnival create possibilities in dance theater, and how the relationship between Carnival and diasporic identities define Caribbean diasporic movement in our increasingly virtual realities. Questions of inquiry include:


  • How does Carnival and mas performance allow us to rethink our shared potential as dance artists?

  • How are practices of resistance to gender and race-based discrimination and violence expressed through dance in Carnival and mas performance?

  • How can mas and Carnival performance practice be specified, activated, and organized to invoke its inherence as a form of Emancipation through shifting cultural and ecological landscapes?

This module is a program of the Dance & Performance Institute's Carnival Performance Institute. 


Baby Doll Mas as a Healing Methodology in the Mother-Daughter Relationship

Makeda Thomas in conversation with Dr. Nana Brantuo and Dara Healy


Join Belmont Baby Dolls Band Leader Makeda Thomas in a series of conversations leading up to Trinidad Carnival. Guests: Dr. Nana Brantuo, an educator, facilitator, researcher, and writer based in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area who is deeply committed to the creation and sustainment of transformative and equitable spaces, structures, and systems and centers Black feminisms, Black geographies, and intersectionality within her pedagogical and political praxes. Dara E. Healy is a storyteller, performer, and the founder of The Idakeda Group, dedicated to impacting the lives of vulnerable young people and communities through culture, heritage and the arts.

What am I mounting here? Baby Doll mas performance in the context of Trinidad & Tobago’s Carnival, as a performance of love, in its fullness, as both a strategy of survival and intentional reclamation of equanimous, open, apologetic, and soft relationships between mothers and daughters; where empathy does not sacrifice accountability and reckoning with our selves, others, and the spaces in between and all around, where the benevolence of mothering or daughter-ing resists being weaponized...where a Black girl's emerging womanhood does not transition her to competitor but as an expression of generations to come; of futurity. In either way the mas is played - and there are infinite ways I imagine - the Baby Doll mas performs the demand for accountability or owed apologies; of which the would-be recipient is deserving, thus teaching daughters that they are deserving of respect and reciprocity, and to hold accountable those that bring them harm - both within the mother-daughter relationship and outside of it. And so, this mas reaches far back and forward into the "mother line" - to comprehend that which activates in our present lives. Yes, this ritual dance of the mas -  playing Doll - is an ancient source of healing and like Petwo - returning back to the Ezili Dantor, Queen of Petwo - it is also a dance of the spirit of sedition. Sedition, because there is a kind of Doll that so recognizes the values of the healing work of the mas, that she knows it also involves breaking shit."   


- Makeda Thomas

* This session will not be recorded. As such, it is unavailable for future viewing. Email for more info.


Baby Doll as Healing Methodology

Dance de Mas: Corporeal Technologies

in Carnival Praxis

bottom of page