“Nou Sé Nonm”: the special Kalakaswé of May 27 by Dimension Ka

On the occasion of the abolition of slavery celebrated on May 27 in Guadeloupe, the Mémorial ACTe, Caribbean Center for Expressions and Memory of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery”, proposed to the public a special “Kalakaswé” whose choreography was entitled “Nou sé Nonm” (We are Men) and performed by Ennide Vangout, the official choreographer of the association “Dimension Ka”.

Kalakaswé-Nou sé Nonm 41 B

In order to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the end of slavery, the Mémorial ACTe decided to organize this “Kalakaswé” not on the “Terrasse Événementielle” where this traditional dance program usually takes place, but on the “Place de la Commémoration”. On this occasion, the contribution which normally costs 5,00 euros was free. Certainly because of the enormous size of the place, the participants were somewhat intimidated at first and then the square quickly filled with regulars of this Sunday introduction to gwoka and people of various origins who were interested to discover this dance to the beat of drum-ka that was created during slavery.

Created in 2016, “Dimension Ka” was chosen to present this event. With its fifty members, this cultural association based in Raizet (Abymes) offers all year round gwoka dance courses and works with several choreographers (Isabelle Falla, Lucien Selbonne etc.) but it was Ennide Vangout who was responsible for leading the “Kalakaswé” of May 27.

Kalakaswé-Nou sé Nonm 48 C

Men and not furniture

The “tanbouyé” of the association accompanied her in this mission instead of Fanswa Ladrézeau and Daniel Savonnier nicknamed “Tirèn” who officiate normally in every edition.

“Nou sé Nonm” (We are Men) is the name of this choreography presented by Ennide Vangout. “This title is related to the History of our ancestors: the slave was considered a piece of furniture, “Nou sé Nonm” – “Nonm” with a capital “N” – (We are Men, Men with a capital M) to say that we are human beings, we must to be aware that we are Men. It is a great honor for me to participate in this event”, she said.

Very discreet, she works now as a special education teacher and she learned during her career several kinds of dances (classical, jazz, afro-jazz, gwoka etc) in particular with teachers like Lydia Deshauteurs and Jacqueline Cachemire-Thôle when she chaired “Akadémiduka”. “I am a child of ka”, she added.

Kalakaswé-Nou sé Nonm 37 D

Very motivated children

For nearly an hour, the Mémorial ACTe audience (the vast majority of participants who were women and spectators) discovered several gwoka steps. As always, the children were unquestionably the most motivated and they did not hesitate to show what they had learned during this initiation. Their performances were very applauded by the crowd that was filled with wonder. Unfortunately, this special “Kalakaswé” lasted only one hour instead of the two hours dedicated to it once a month.

Magali Julien, the president of “Dimension Ka” was very happy about the performance of her team. “It affects me when people get involved voluntarily in a project because I have always been a member of an association, it started with my mother… We are about twenty members today at the Mémorial ACTe. I thank all these enthusiast people as well as our relatives who came to support us. “Nou sé Nonm” also means that we have to keep fighting to exist”, she said. Soon, the association will also offer African dance classes.