Belmont Baby Dolls: Spirit Dolls (2020)
in collaboration with Brianna McCarthy
Trinidad Carnival, Port of Spain
with Makeda and Nyah Love Thomas, Lyndon Gill, Mari Pitkänen, Angelique Nixon, Arnaldo James, Jamie Philbert, Jade Drakes, Shay Alexander, Isabel Dennis, Cecile Pemberton and Eva Thomas, Patriann Edwards, Arielle John, and Kwayera Cunningham-Archer.
“Spirit Dolls” sets its foundation on the traditional elements of the Baby Doll Mas. Materials are a mix of African textiles, European lace, and fabrics commonly found in Caribbean homes - florals and cotton prints. In this way, we are interested in a “Caribbean” Doll, with all those respective cultural influences, and moving towards something that is unique; self-defined. And while the aesthetic is strong, this mas is less about what a Baby Doll looks like, and more about what Baby Doll mas can do. Spirit dolls act as vessels for beings of powerful spirits. In this performance, Carnival is the ritual to invoke the spirit of the Doll; to open a path to the impossible.
"When Dolls Dance" in "Black Dance: My Voice, My Practice".
READ “Spirit Dolls” at CADD 2020 Fluid Black::Dance Back
SEE "Baby Doll Mas' Old & New Interpretations at “The Old Yard” at the University of the West Indies, Centre for Creative & Festival Arts
"Spirit Dolls" for Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, 2020. Photo by Abigail Hadeed.
Belmont Baby Dolls: Carnival Baby (2019)
in collaboration with Shannon Lewis
Trinidad & Tobago Carnival - Port of Spain
with Makeda and Nyah Love Thomas, Jade Drakes, Arnaldo James, Olubusola Chung, Shanya Springer, Sophie Bufton, Adeline Gregoire, Amanda McIntyre, Jarula Wegner, and Shannon Lewis.
“Carnival Baby” - eleven MASterful performers whose work “traces the roots of this Mas as one in which women assert control over their sexuality, their womanhood, their motherhood; to assert their “performative identities” against interpretations that would deny both their agency and their pleasure”. (Vaz-Deville). Belmont Baby Dolls extend this ethos throughout their lives and engage this embodied practice as a way to examine how gender and race have shaped and continue to shape this ritual, explore sexuality in the lives of Caribbean girls and transgressive sexuality performed publicly by women, and the way the tradition helps to revitalize spirits. We are the dolls, their mothers, their sisters, their aunts, their lovers...
READ "The Return of the Baby Doll" in Caribbean Beat
"Carnival Baby" for Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, 2019. Photo by Arnaldo James.