Talawa Technique

Talawa Technique™ structures elements of African & Caribbean practices uniquely designed to facilitate poly-centrism, multiple movement qualities, grounding and poly-rhythm. Talawa Technique™ deconstructs and reconstructs these practices in such a way as to reveal the quality of each unique element by themselves. Talawa Technique utilizes the added accumulative potential achieved when these elements are intentionally recombined. — Thomas Presto

Talawa Technique developed by Thomas Presto is a cosmo-centric technique, a living/breathing/growing technique, a technique that points to a variety of African/Diasporic cultural, spiritual contexts, aesthetic traditions and cosmologies. It centers Africana movement technologies and provides a unique opportunity to study Africana movement within the context of a technique.

Thomas researched 300 dances from a range of African traditions, and more than 85 Caribbean dances. From this research he distilled a set of 32 arm positions, 15 foot positions, and 7 levels of movements through the torso. Each set of movements has cosmological links to an animal.

The arm positions, which embody the principle of communication, are linked to the spider. Anansi the spider, for example, well known throughout the African Diaspora is the storyteller, the trickster, the weaver of illusions. The movements of the torso are linked to the snake. The snake is revered in many West African/Diasporic cosmologies and represents healing and vital life energy. In Talawa these movements can be either deconstructed for the purposes of learning or reconstructed into increasingly complex choreography and/or as an entry into different Africana traditions. 

This is a living technique that as new practitioner I am in ever evolving relationship to. It slowly reveals itself as I deepen my awareness of the subtle, nuanced movements in my body, as I begin to embrace moving from the inside out, as I experience the healing properties of the movements, as my body learns to remember ancestrally.

To learn more see – Talawa Technique.

Thomas Presto’s Tabanka Dance Ensemble embodies the richly complex possibilities of the Talawa Technique.