The Sadler’s Wells Experience – The Realisation of one woman’s dream

Sadlers Wells - June 2019

JANUKA recently delivered an amazing performance at the world-renowned Sadlers’ Wells Theatre – as part of the Elixir Extracts Festival. This notable date was 15th June 2019. JANUKA was honoured to dance in the presence of the Mayoress of Lewisham Barbara Gray.

The performances which were held in The Lillian Baylis Studio showcased the talents and abilities of the Over 50s age group. The performances were energetic, focused and exhilarating. They demonstrated the talents and energy which this age group possess. Dancing is not just for the young but is known to contribute to the overall wellbeing of individuals.

The main aim of JANUKA’s dance routine was to demonstrate and re-tell parts of our history during slavery. Our African ancestors not only showed resilience in the face of adversity, and the strength to overcome immense hurdles in their lives but, created their own culture by making use of their owners’ traditions and using them to their own end.

The JANUKA performance was truly outstanding. The structure of the sequences was well choreographed by their leader, Beverley Bogle and executed beautifully .The graceful swan-like movements were elegant, precise and expressive. As the movements changed and progressed the audience was captivated and responded by applauding enthusiastically and voicing their pleasure.

The group’s routine demonstrated two distinctly different styles of the quadrille dance i.e. The Ballroom style and the Camps Style quadrille.

The Ballroom style is a formal and regimented dance which adopts a very upright posture and no facial expressions, while executing various geometric patterns. The house slaves would observe these dances and share them with the field slaves. They soon mastered the dances, mimicking their masters.

Despite threats of severe punishment if caught they used their skills and natural flair to transform the dance into a more relaxed, jovial and expressive choreography which they used to communicate with one another. This became the Camp style quadrille with its lively musical accompaniment.

The dazzling colours of the Jamaican traditional Bandana costume were eye-catching and appealing, displaying the love for vibrant colours.

The Bandana, or Madras fabric is a cotton material where the main colours of red, white, blue and yellow. It is now widely regarded as the unofficial national fabric. It was originally to make cheap clothing for the slaves, and later on for female farmers and market vendors to create aprons and head ties.

Today the fabric is used to make costumes for national celebrations, e. g. Emancipation and Independence celebrations, in particular traditional dances and folk songs.

We have come a long way in being able to reclaim this symbol of slavery and oppression and transform it into a celebration of our culture.

We know from sitting in the audiences and hearing comments that many persons left the theatre more knowledgeable and appreciative of our culture, than when they arrived.

JANUKA continues to honour our ancestors through their performances throughout various communities, schools and audiences. They are a fantastic ambassador in promoting our Jamaican cultural heritage.

The group obviously possess high levels of discipline and commitment, needed to showcase such high standards of performance. This is commendable.

Beverley is to be admired and respected for her vision, tenacity and drive to educate, inform, inspire and share awareness of our culture.

JANUKA grows from strength to strength. The exposure which it has gained will propel them to greater heights. We are on a long journey.

JANUKA’s outstanding performance and the audience’s reaction will be indelibly planted in the conscious memory of the dance group and their audience for many years to come.

Congratulations on delivering a truly “mesmerising” performance.

Written by Joan, Geniva & Cliff (July 2019)

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