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Jamaica Dance Umbrella Celebrates Patsy Ricketts and Clive Thompson

(l-r) Iyun Ashani Harrison, Patsy Ricketts and Clive Thompson

The 2014 installment of the Jamaica Dance Umbrella paid homage to stalwarts of Jamaica’s dance community Clive Thompson and Patsy Ricketts, at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts. The event celebrating the iconic dancer/choreographers pulled double duty on Thursday night, as it was also the launch of the 6th edition of Dance Umbrella, which enfolds dancers from the Caribbean, North America, Latin America and the United Kingdom.

JDU 2014 leaps off on Friday, March 7, and takes its curtain call on Sunday, March 9. The mini-festival of dance continues to offer a diverse tapestry of movement in Jamaica. This year’s roster of local dance companies include the National Dance Theatre Company, L’Acadco, The Company Dance Theatre, Quilt Performing Arts Company, Tamara Thomas Dance, One Body One God Dance Ministry and the Ashe Company.

Dancers of Miriam Soulanges of GuadeloupeMichael Holgate, Artistic Director of JDU noted that in its short but impressive history, the Dance Umbrella has grown from a stage for Jamaican dances to a a space for national, regional and international dance expression.

So, the 2014 line-up also features Miriam Soulanges of Guadeloupe (courtesy of the Embassy of France in Jamaica), Ashani Dances of the USA, Kashe Dance of Canada and Cindy Claes of the UK.

However, while the event disclosed the upcoming happenings of JDU 2014 and remarked on its growth over the years, its focus was on Ricketts and Thompson, and the night became a multi-pronged celebration of their work and impact on dance in Jamaica.

Tribe Sankofa delivered the first round of thanks through word and movement featuring a creatively crafted citation (read by Fabian Thomas) accompanied by movement. Next up, were short biographies of the dancer/choreographers along with an image reel capturing their time on the stage. NDTC performers The Rope and the Cross in tribute to dancer Patsy Rickets

The National Dance Theatre Company, rounded out the tributes with performances of excerpts of ‘Rope and the Cross’ and ‘Folktales’. The Rope and the Cross, choreographed by the late Sheila Barnett, was among the pieces with which Ricketts distinguished herself on the stage, while ‘Folktales’ is choreographed by Thompson.

The launch event also featured a performance from Miriam Soulanges, as a way of paying tribute to the French Embassy and their continued support of the Jamaica Dance Umbrella. 

JDU 2014 takes place at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts. It is a part of the Philip Sherlock Arts Festival and will feature three nights of performances from 16 companies. The Junior Jamaica Dance Umbrella also returns this year, taking place on Saturday, March 8, 2014. The launch event was held on Thursday, March 6, 2014.