Show 2 [Gala Night with Artistic Talk]: Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. (Tickets $1000)
Show 3: Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Tickets $800)
Venue: Dance Studio Theatre, EMCVPA, 1 Arthur Wint Drive, Kingston 5
Tickets available at School of Dance, EMCVPA
And I Found Myself Here?
by Oniel Pryce
Sifting through my creative memories, pressing rewind, I can pause and play a series of events where my feelings and self-image were nothing more than the shell of what others thought of me and what I created. The person I was, or portrayed, was simply skidding the surface of societal pretense. I was riding upon the waves of thoughts, compliments and stereotypes that surrounded my artistic practice, process and output.
My mind, so ignorant and proud at times, has allowed societal expectations to cage my complete self-discovery from flowing from the depths of my thoughts and into my artistic space. I was what I thought I should be, and the energy driving my life and the days and nights in between, was fueled by fulfilling my societal roles, and making others happy.
My choreographic work is constantly coming up against the criticism of those who believed it lacked a Caribbean identity. For years, this has affected my confidence. Each time I made a work I was always fearful of what an audience might think about it, to the point where I ended up having a serious dislike for my own work; it took me a while to understand what this meant. Very recently I discovered why it was important for me to dislike the work first… so that when it other persons did it was easier to release as I had already forced myself into thinking I hated my own work.
For many years I have tried to shed my own creative identity to fit into the mold of being identified as a ‘Caribbean artist’. But why, I asked myself, would I strive to be none of which I am? Have become? Where this path was headed to? I had no idea. My irrevocable confidence, and false self-image, caused my ignorance to overshadow any true self-discovery that would allow me to foresee the hardships and failures, life lessons and dilemmas that would cloud my future and crack the foundation of the mold I could no longer imitate. There was a time when I thought I knew myself. But I knew nothing, of the true passions that colored my soul, of the coals of awareness that would soon create a fire within the depths of the self I never knew —burning my pre-defined self that my mind restlessly fought to escape.
After lots of soul searching and reflecting, I concluded my work is indeed Caribbean because, being born Jamaican and the vessel from which this/my creative process is harnessed how can I separate my Caribbean identity from my artistic output? The truth is I have just chosen to express this identity through different lenses; ultimately we are a sum total of all our experiences.
To simply claim I have a defined self-identity would be a insincere statement and a lie. I have definitely opened doors that have, in response, engulfed my brain with confusion but forced me to express the inexpressible in the form of my creative processes and choreographic output.
I challenged every aspect of my life by simply existing. So now I have found myself here. Here.
In my artistic truth, I have battled the odds I have created. I have hated it, I have loved it, I have used it as a cathartic experience. I am now at the point of myself and artistic acceptance. My artistic voice too is important. The language in which it speaks might not be understood or appreciated by all who encounter it, yet it is still important. So here I am back to the space I was trying to internally avoid, embracing it, sharing it and living it. My heart and art are now collaborating and no longer colliding.
And I have found myself here? In my artistic now, my truth space, my art space. The space to express to be, to live to do. This show marks the culmination of the journey of finding me or at least accepting my artistic self. Speaking with the voice that choose Me.