View
Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Stanley-Niaah, Sonjah N.
Author Role
Presenter
Author Affiliation
Institute of Caribbean Studies
Paper/Section Title
Making Space: Reading ‘Limbo’ in Dancehall Performance and Spatiality
Medium Designator
n/a
Connective Phrase
n/a
Editor/Compiler
n/a
Editor/Compiler Role
n/a
Proceedings Title
Ninth Annual Cultural Studies Workshop
Date of Meeting
February 2-7, 2004
Place of Meeting
Bangalore, India
Place of Publication
n/a
Publisher Name
n/a
Date of Publication
n/a
Date of Copyright
n/a
Volume ID
n/a
Location in Work
n/a
Extent of Work
n/a
Packaging Method
n/a
Series Editor
n/a
Series Editor Role
n/a
Series Title
n/a
Series Volume ID
n/a
Location/URL
n/a
ISBN
n/a
Notes
n/a
Abstract
The enslaved survived the Middle Passage by their strategies of performance (Harris 1970; Fabre 1999, p. 33-46). Recorded in the ship logs as early as 1664, limbo was a “ritual of rebirth” and is today a dance performing act in the contemporary Caribbean. In particular, it appears in Jamaica’s popular Dancehall culture in 1994. Limbo then, marks memory and continuity within the performance project of the New World. It is a sign; its habitus is the imagination, the arts of the imagination are its products, and it holds keys for understanding Caribbean popular performance. In reading limbo as a gateway (Harris, 1970), liminal in its ‘between and betwixtness’, and a place of (re)creative consciousness, it allows for a shift from purely historical consciousness to other kinds of consciousnesses. These are for example embodied in performance, methodology, and spatiality. First, the slave ship, just like downtown Kingston or Laventille from where Dancehall and Steel Band cultures have respectively come, produced particular brands of performance. By performance, the author is referring to movement, the drama, the cultural work of enacting one’s identity through ritualised remembering. Secondly, these spaces are bound up with a methodology some have named “creative use of…schizophrenia” which results from the synthesis/tensions of old and new worlds. Thirdly, being performed on the slave ships where hardly enough space was available for this ritual, limbo focuses the issue and crisis of space, at the empirical level and within critical discourse. Transporting the enslaved for such a long journey in limited space necessitated ‘exercise’ to keep them alive. Performance was a requirement for life; it pushed the boundaries of limitation to avail spaces of liberation from oppression and dislocation, even as these spaces were limited, liminal and often nomadic.....
read more