Caribbean dance: British Perspectives and the choreography of Beverley Glean
Beverley Glean established IRIE! dance theatre in the UK in 1985. Described as an African and Caribbean dance company, IRIE! produced 17 productions between 1985 and 2004, and toured work nationally and internationally. In 2004, the company stopped touring when Beverley Glean along with Rosie Lehan began to deliver a foundation degree course with a focus on choreographic fusion. In 2015, Glean returns to choreography in celebration of the company’s thirtieth anniversary. This paper focuses on the first twenty years of the company and interrogates it as part of British theatrical dance history. I do this by exploring Glean’s choreography as a signifying practice which draws on Caribbean dances to create meanings within the context of multicultural Britain. I analyse published commentary on IRIE! dance theatre to demonstrate how the concept of Ethnic Minority Arts which was prevalent in cultural policy of the 1980s and formed a dominant discourse, could not make sense of the dance company. IRIE! blurred the boundaries between its notional templates of what ‘traditional’ or ‘modern’ dance by people of non-western heritage should look like. I look to Thomas DeFrantz’ concept of corporeal orature as a way of engaging with how Glean draws on Reggae dance and music to construct the hybrid choreographic works I describe. I conclude by arguing that an engagement with the political or philosophical undertones of hybridity in choreography such as Glean’s offers greater insight into how social integration is experienced and lived than prescriptive templates offered by dominant discourses, as was Ethnic Minority Arts.
Citation : Adewole, F. (2016) Caribbean dance: British Perspectives and the choreography of Beverley Glean. In: (Eds) T.DeFrantz and P.Rothfield, Choreography and Corporeality: Relay in Motion. Plagrave Macmillian UK, pp. 67-82
ISBN : 9781137546524
Research Group : Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Dance (CIRID)
Research Institute : Institute of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Arts