Meet the

Stick Fighters & Canboulay

“I was particularly inspired by the connection between the bois man and their bois. It is a part of their soul and every part of the journey is spiritual. I was inspired by their taping and wrapping of the bois and wanted our dancers to visually be an extension of the bois, as they are in reality. The makeup drew inspiration from the more traditional costuming seen in some gayelles with reflective materials used. When Narvaly (make-up artist) and I spoke on it we came up with the final piece that almost seemed to draw attention away from the eyes all together”- VAL

CANBOULAY is the predecessor of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival as we know it. Emerging post-emancipation; the Canboulay festivals commemorated the harvest of sugarcane and grew to incorporate the essence of every single spirit and activity that remains the hallmark of carnival celebrations today- with much of the original festivities centering calinda (STICK FIGHTING) competitions. The foundations of mas making, costumed parades (modeled after European planter celebrations), drumming, tamboo bamboo (precursor to the steelpan), and crucially, the call and response LAVWAYS lead by chantwells (that later evolved into kaiso, calypso, and soca) all occurred in and around the gayelles of stick fighting competitions. Out of the breath of chantwells, fortified with the fighting spirit of bois men an enduring spirit of rebellion, freedom, celebration, catharsis, competition, masquerade, self-definition, resistance and creativity was born: Trinidad & Tobago Carnival.

Stick Fighting By:
Akimo Sandy
Nkwame Martin
Dominique Bones
Isabelle Julien
Cheyenne Carrington-Greene
Sherrod Reid
Moriba Francis
Paccino Wilson/Miguel Singh
Tevin Daniel
Zakiya-Tuere Savary
Maria Davis


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