Kumina Queen Imogene Kennedy captured performing her "skill" dance. The skill dance is one of the highlights of a Kumina play. The lead dancer balances a glass of water or an egg in a spoon, or a lit kitchen bitch (kerosene lamp), or a live, rum-stupored fowl on his or her head, while performing the basic Kumina movements.
|Kumina dancing reflects the intense energy being emitted from the drumming; controlled at times, spontaneous and highly charged at other times. Dancers and drummers are bonded in an intricate pattern of sound and movement. African, and Kongo-based words such as Kalunga, Kadunga or Kumeka are names used by practitioners when speaking about the dancing in Kumina.|
Following the raising of a song and the initial drum cue, the lead dancer, male or female, captains the dancers as they move around the drummers in an anti-clockwise direction either singly or with a partner. The basic dance posture is an almost erect back, bent knees, and feet flat in either first or fourth position stance (ballet term) itching and shuffling along as the hip performs side to side or forward thrusting actions. This is accentuated by dip (a subtle drop on the right leg) as the dancers move forward. Intricate foot-work, the undulation of the ribcage, shoulders and arm movements, along with wide flat-footed spins followed by a sudden break (a stop in movement) are performed in response to the poly-rhythms of the drumming, and reflect retentive African traditional dance elements within Kumina.
Spirit possession is a significant aspect of Kumina. Usually it is the dancer who displays the presence of a spirit. The movements of the possessed dancer varies, sometimes it reflects a mimicking of the spirit, or its personality and posture, or the movements and actions can be somewhat violent. When possessed the dancer has to be controlled and danced out of the state. This is directed by Kumina leaders and accompanied by changes in the singing and music.
As the music intensifies so too does the improvisational aspect of the dancing. Hence, Kumina dancing stands as a worthy partner to the highly energized and creative music it accompanies. Click to see a demonstration of Kumina dancing.
|Click to see Kumina dancing..|
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