The complex social fabric of Caribbean colonies gave rise in the early nineteenth century to a range of dance cultures. Plantations, colonial theatres, markets, ball rooms, barracks and streets were all sites of expressive physical movement in which a range of West African and European performance traditions were articulated under conditions of profound social change. These various dance worlds were represented by a range of artists who reflected- by turns indulgently, satirically, ambivalently, and critically- on the make up of Caribbean society.

In this section of the dissertation I document the process by which the social forces at work in the Caribbean were transformed into choreographic ornament borne in different ways on different performers’ bodies.