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L'Acadco tugs Patsy Ricketts back to dance - again

Published:Sunday | April 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Patricia 'Patsy' Ricketts'

Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

On the Thursday afternoon that The Sunday Gleaner sat in on the tail end of Patricia 'Patsy' Ricketts' class with some extremely energetic Excelsior High School students, this writer was struck that all of them were taller than the instructor.

And when Ricketts goes onstage at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts, UWI, Mona, on Wednesday evening, she will certainly be senior to the other dancers in L'Acadco's 26th celebration of dance. Ricketts said her role in the season, entitled 'SHIPS' LOG - Daaance Coconut Daaance', comes at the end of a movement about the African women who committed suicide by throwing themselves over the side of the slave ships and drowning.

"What I represent is the spirit of the water that helped them to come over. I am the spirit that helps them to come over to the ancestry world," she said.

Ricketts chuckled as she said, "I've really not performed for years. I just teach now."

It is not the first time that L'Acadco has tugged Ricketts back onto the stage. L'Acadco head Dr L'Antoinette Stines choreographed her in Satta.

"The first time was when I was having children," Ricketts said. She was part of an Evening of Excellence, held at the Ward Theatre, Kingston. "Wow! What a wonderful experience!" Ricketts said. "It was a good experience to come back. Somebody asked me to describe dance. It is like eating or sleeping, breathing. It is a part of me."

From birth, it seems. Ricketts said, she was born feet first and while she did not exactly hit the ground dancing, she started dance lessons with Eddie Thomas in 1963, joining the National Dance Theatre Company as principal dancer four years later. There were the tours - the Caribbean, Europe; the studies abroad - back-to-back scholarships at the Martha Graham School of Dance; the 'founding dancer' status - The Dance Theatre of Harlem; the studies home - she was one of the first batch of dancers from the Jamaica School of Dance in 1979 - with honours.

Now, there is the second second-coming with L'Acadco and Ricketts, who has been rehearsing twice and thrice a week.

"It feels good," said Ricketts. "She (Stines) has given me things that I can do, can manage. It feels good."

Ricketts is not eyeing regular performances, though, saying that any future stage forays would have to be under special circumstances, "like how L'Antoinette choreographs something for me. I just did it for L'Acadco. I like L'Acadco. It is a good company and I live to dance".

The L'Acadco season runs from this Wednesday to Sunday, May 2.