The Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, invites the international community of dancers, choreographers and scholars to participate in the second International Dance Conference “Season of Dance” that will take place in our beautiful facilities May 18 – 21, 2016 on the topic: “Caribbean Fusion Dance Works: Rituals of Modern Society”

In 1940, Cuban scholar Fernando Ortiz coined the term “transculturation” to describe the process by which distinct cultures fuse to give birth to new cultural expressions.[1] Scholars have since widely recognized the vital role syncretism has played in the Caribbean, due in no small part to its geographic and historical location at the center of travel and slave trade between Europe, Africa and the Americas. In 1996, Cuban writer Antonío Benítez-Rojo suggested that the defining characteristic of Caribbean culture is supersyncretism, a propensity for recombining elements from disparate cultural traditions in a continual pattern of interruption and repetition.[2] As Caribbean dances and dancers have migrated from the Caribbean Basin, they have continued these patterns of transculturation, syncretism, and hybridization in new fusions of Caribbean dance with practices as varied as ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, bhangra, and belly dance. Within the Caribbean, dance artists and social dance practitioners are integrating techniques and vocabulary from other Caribbean islands, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, facilitated by increased ease of travel, both physical and virtual.  Conference participants are invited to examine the theme of fusion in Caribbean dance from a wide range of perspectives, including its socio-historical function. Caribbean dance will be conceptualized broadly to include the greater Caribbean created through migration, globalization, and virtual travel.

Questions addressed by presentations might include:

  • In what ways does fusion compromise the cultural integrity of Caribbean dance?
  • In what ways does fusion offer new commercial, educational, and cultural opportunities to Caribbean artists?
  • How has the proliferation and availability of dance video on the Internet accelerated and altered practices of Caribbean dance?
  • How do the lingering impacts of English, French, and Spanish colonialism differentially impact dance artists from different Caribbean islands?
  • How are patterns of migration reflected in the history and contemporary expression of Caribbean dance?
  • How do migrants from the Caribbean adapt dance practices to new cultural environments, and what kinds of new hybrid dance forms are created as a result?
  • Is there any such thing as Caribbean dance without fusion?
  • How are sacred rituals adapted for modern cultural contexts?
  • How are social dance practices adapted for stage performance and how are staged dances incorporated back into social practice?
  • What is the difference between fusion, hybridity, syncretism, transculturation and appropriation?
  • How do fusion artists balance the need to honor a tradition and legacy with the impulse to innovate?
  • How have issues of globalization impacted Caribbean dance?
  • How can we expose and address issues of cultural appropriation in the context of a modern global dance community?

[1] Fernando Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint:  Tobacco and Sugar. New York:  A. A. Knopf, 1947 [1940].


[2] Antonio Benítez-Rojo, The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective, Second Edition, trans. James E. Maraniss (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996), 11–12.


Conference sessions will include:

- Individual papers presentation

- Panels

- Workshops

- Performances (free production included)

Deadline for abstracts and videos: Februrary 15th

Notification of acceptance: March 7th

Submission date for publication of papers: July 15th

For Submission Guidelines Contact:

Program Committee:

Neri Torres, The University of the West Indies, Cavehill, chair

Juliet McMains, PhD, University of Washington, USA

Laura Donelly, Kansas State University, USA

Michelle Glasby-Millington, The University of the West Indies, Cavehill

Carla Springer, The University of the West Indies, Cavehill

Michelle Springer, Barbados National Cultural Foundation

Shama Harding, Barbados Community College

Lisa Sandlos, York University, Canada

Jorge Morejon, PhD, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine

Roberto Montero, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain

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