Tribute to JANUKA by Cliff Purchase

I personally have known JANUKA for approximately 8 years. During that time, I have seen a group of women, who met in 2005 under the tutelege of “Mr Desmond Clarke” to learn quadrille, develop into a formidable group of quadrille dancers.  I can recount meeting them during those early days of rehearsal at an Antenatal Clinic in SE London, where they practiced with Mr Clarke.

I am both impressed and encouraged to see these women being resolute in organising themselves, with energy and passion for dancing quadrille, from something deep into their Jamaican subconscious heritage, that gave them so much pleasure.

The name JANUKA meaning “Jamaican Nurses in the UK and their Associates” was first coined in 2007 by the group of quadrille dancers, after they had gained enough experience to charter their journey further into quadrille dancing.

JANUKA continued to evolve and became stronger and more committed as they gained several invitations to high and low profile events and performed at various venues over the ensuing years.  In particular, was an excellent and memorable performance under the leadership of Beverley Bogle at Kings College London in 2007, to mark the bicentenary of the parliamentary Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Act.  Their quadrille dancing sought to tell a story, in dance form, of our ancestors will to survive enslavement in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and the lessons that can be learnt from their experiences. This was a key moment in JANUKA’s evolution and they were well received.

From this event, they were offered more opportunities to perform locally and nationally and subsequently conduct quadrille-dancing workshops.

As JANUKA grew in popularity, it became evident that they needed to create a website to enable them to inform and coordinate their performances and shows.

The website will also serve to educate people about quadrille, why our ancestors danced it, and why it is still danced today.  The launching of their website and Logo today is the culmination of a dream, the inevitable came to fulfilment.

I am a proud friend of JANUKA, who is immensely privileged to witness their hard work, sacrifice and success to date.  I therefore wish them every success as they seek to keep alive the legacy of our ancestors, who was resilient through much chastisement and suffering.

From:  Cliff Purchase


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