Vessels 2015 brought happened in August 2015 at the Beacon Theatre in Greenock Scotland. This was a triangular Exchange between Ghana Jamaica and Scotland.
As a follow up on Vessels 2014 when Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games, I was asked by the Vessels team to facilitate a link with a Ghanaian group as part of this cultural and creative triangle. I contacted my friend and former Artistic Director of the National Dance Company of Ghana, Professor Nii Yartey about Noyam Dance Company and he agreed to to present three young people from Noyam as participants! Randy McLaren of Articulet in Jamaica was also presenting three young performers to join the group of young people in Greenock. it was all exciting to know that what started as an idea just a year ago was becoming a rare oportunity for young people miles apart across continents!
The groups were all gathered on the 7th of August at the Beacon for a day’s sharing of what they had prepared as from the various countries. The Jamaican and Ghanaian presentations were extremely captivating and held everybody spellbound! Jamaica presented a fusion of movement, rhythm song and spoken word, treating the theme of vessels with a vivid imaginative presentation that left us all feeling so enriched. Ghana presented a very challenging rendition of vessels in a contemporary African dance piece that caught my heart, held it in an empathic roller coaster of conflict, strife, pain, reconciliation, anger and joy, confusion and clarity of purpose, then left it in a playful mood of youthful carefree exuberance! I cried! I was very pleased! and I said,
“We don’t need anymore work, lets wait till Saturday and present this and that will be it, we can have fun the whole week!”
Somehow that’s what we did. We had fun for ten days creating, laughing, planning, thinking, tweaking, getting ready for Saturday! we made new friends and strengthened old bonds and put up a great show.
Then I flew to Ghana on the same flight as the Noyam group, with three other people from the University of Glasgow – The four of us now self-named the Calabash people. We had an amazing time visiting the Noyam African Dance Institute and I made a little video as a reflection on this visit. The title is The Calabash People!