‘Dougla’ – a dance production aimed at eradicating racism
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A few of Enigma’s dancers during a competition in 2018
A few of Enigma’s dancers during a competition in 2018

As the country awaits the declaration of the 2020 General and Regional Elections, the political unrest and racial tensions have intensified as many Guyanese are spewing racial slurs and hate comments towards each other.

Acknowledging that the arts, whether it be dance, music or drama can influence people tremendously, Lynn Ronnkvist, Director/choreographer and dancer of the New Academy for the Performing Arts – Enigma Dance Company, is using her talents to promote unity not only in Guyana but across the Caribbean region with a unity-themed touring dance/drama production.

“In light of the existing problems caused by racial tensions, especially amongst Guyanese, we as professionals in the performing arts industry have to do our part. Our influence goes across borders and reaches both young and old in every culture,” Ronnkvist said.

She added that music and dance have the potential to steer minds and mould positive attitudes hence the reason for creating the “Dougla ” project production.

Launched in April 2019, “Dougla” came about as a result of the Enigma Dance Studio’s participation in the 2018 World of Dance Championships in Trinidad and Tobago, where the group achieved gold for Guyana, Ronnkvist said that the experience awakened a spirit of promoting the integration of cultures and ethnicity which would assist Guyana in curbing its race issue.

She believes that this topic needs to be discussed on a national level amongst politicians and public sectors until then meaningful social interaction is needed.

Enigma’s dancers during their first performance of ‘Dougla’ in April 2019

“The key elements on this piece sees the history, origin and definition of the ‘Dougla’ people defined as Caribbean people who are of mixed African and Indian descent. The word ‘Dougla’ is used primarily in Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Guyana, and Jamaica,” she stated.

Many decades ago, interracial dating and marriages were condemned in the Caribbean, while some may think we would have jumped that hurdle as a people who preach unity, there are still many around the world who believe that one should date within our ethnicity or cultural group.

While love may triumph over everything, interracial couples face many struggles not only from the eyes of society but amongst themselves and close relatives, hence Ronnkvist’s dance production aims to tackle the trials and tribulations faced by those who are in similar situations as well as spark a much-needed conversation about the topic.

The dramatisation in the form of a dance sees the mutual love of dancing bringing two young adults from different ethnicities and cultures together to create social change and acceptance for each other’s race. Ronnkvist’s 20 years of dance experience are put into producing this touring production intended to eventually become a short film.

“Dougla” is a touring production with the first being held in Guyana last July and December at the Movie Towne Fiesta Stage. This was possible with support from 2corporate Guyana and the Ministry of Social Cohesion’s Grant for the Creative Industry.

The group aims to have the production annually in Guyana with the next production planned for December 2020. She implores the need for more support of creative groups like hers, from corporate Guyana since the race issue affects everyone.

Persons interested in learning more about the production to lend support can contact Ronnkvist via eapagy@gmail.com or visit the group’s studio at Georgetown Cricket Club ( GCC) at Bourda.

Ronnkvist hinted that the proceeds from the production will go towards the start of a Performing Arts Academy which will allow private individuals and groups to become certified in their respective field.

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