top of page
Pioneers and Places Heritage Project

IRIE! dance theatre is Britain’s leading dance theatre company working in the field of African & Caribbean dance fusion. The IRIE! dance theatre archive documents the company’s pioneering educational, artistic and community-based programmes over its 37-year history. The Pioneers and Places project will make IRIE!’s archive more accessible to a wider audience of people not usually engaged in heritage through workshops, performances, talks and an exhibition.

As part of IRIE! dance theatre’s Heritage Lottery funded programme entitled ‘Pioneers and Places’ we have recreated a section of choreography from ‘Reggae Ina Ya Jeggae’ a dance work that featured in the company’s 1991 season entitled ‘let reggae touch your soul!’    


Rediscovering the history of IRIE! dance theatre through its choreographic works has been enlightening and has motivated us to examine, on new bodies, the more traditional elements of the dances. These elements have laid the foundation for the movement language of the company.


The work has been remounted on 6 dancers, and creatively reimagined and put together by rehearsal director Ofelia Balogun. These dancers hold strong African and European retentions because of the transatlantic slave trade and colonisation. The rhythms and movement language continue to present themselves in contemporary African and Caribbean culture in the diaspora.


The dances:


Kumina; Quadrille; (Poem by Louise Bennett-Coverley); Yanvalou; Burru and Nyabinghi


Wieke Vink, one of our Pioneers and Places Heritage Project volunteers, was inspired by watching rehearsals for the reconstruction of ‘Reggae Ina Yu Jeggae’ to write a spoken word piece, which she presented live following the performance. You can hear her beautiful words below, accompanied by photographs taken and edited by another of our project volunteers and IRIE! graduate, Laura Bodner

IRIE! Summer School
Dancing From The Archives
19th-21st July, 2023

Following the reconstruction of IRIE! dance theatre’s Reggae Ina Yu Jeggae (1991) in February 2023, Dr Funmi Adewole-Elliott will be sharing in a three-day online summer school the processes and practices developed as part of the project.

The reconstructed section of Reggae Ina Ya Jeggae explores the influence of traditional Caribbean folk forms on the company’s work, including the music, movement, costumes and the stories. Over three days, summer school attendees will engage in theory around decolonisation, transmission, heritage, creativity and the archive.


You will learn repertoire from the Assistant Artistic Director, Ofelia Balogun, carry out creative tasks and come away with starting points for research whether you are interested in theory or practice.


You can access further information and book to attend the whole summer school or individual days via our Eventbrite page: . As part of the booking process you will be asked to write a few sentences on why you are interested in the topic and how you would like to engage with archives in your work or studies.


This information will help us to plan the day so it is tailored to your needs. To give us time to tailor the plan, we request that you book early, ideally by 5th July.

The Pioneers and Places Heritage Project is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we are making IRIE!’s archive more accessible to a wider audience of people not usually engaged in heritage.

WAL core partner lock up white.jpg
bottom of page