Caribbean Dance Company to Come to Middlebury

The Caribbean Dance Company of the Virgin Islands
will present a wonderfully diverse program at the Dance Theatre
in the Center for the Arts at Middlebury College on Wednesday,
January 22, at 8 p.m.

Under the direction of Marty Thompson, the company’s
unique repertory displays the elements from which traditional
West Indian culture has arisen-African, European, Asian, Native
American-in jewels of brilliant color, energy, rhythm and passion.
The result has electrified audiences throughout Europe, North
and Central America and the Middle East, with ovations and raves
at every appearance.

Founded in 1977 by Mr. Thompson, the Caribbean Dance
Company seeks to research, teach, perform and preserve the rich
heritage of diverse folk dance forms from throughout the West
Indies. With this mission, the company performs for thousands
of residents and visitors at home in the Caribbean each year in
major and smaller performances.

Across the Caribbean there is a long chain of islands
stretching 1,500 miles from Florida to the coast of Venezuela.
For thousands of years before Europeans arrived, many different
Native American tribes populated the many islands: the Tainos,
Igneri and Caribs. After Christopher Columbus discovered the island
of Hispaniola in 1492, many Europeans decided to settle there
and plant crops-mostly sugarcane. Because it was hard labor, they
began to “buy” people to do the work. Starting in the
late 1600s, tens of thousands of Africans, such as Mandingos,
Yorobas and Ashanti, from the continent’s western coast were caught
against their will and taken to the Caribbean to work as slaves
and in the last century, thousands of East Indians went to the
Caribbean as indentured servants. The people of the Caribbean
are descendants of the many different cultures that have lived
there. A lot of old dances from the many “folk” that
have settled there are still part of the daily life of the Caribbean

Tickets for the Concert Series performance are $9
for general admission. It is funded in part by a grant from the
New England Foundation for the Arts, with support from the National
Endowment for the Arts, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the
Vermont Council on the Arts. It is sponsored by The Middlebury
College Concert Series; the department of theatre, dance and film/video,
and the PALANA Center. Call 802-443-6433 to order tickets.