St. James’ Dame Lorraine

The mocking society

At the traditional carnival street competition in St. James last evening, a hefty crowd came out to support a handful of Old Mas performers. From the Midnight Robbers to the White Fruit Bats, masqueraders did their jig of speeches, dances and enactments.

The Dame Lorraine is a character taken from the French aristocrat from the 18th century. The costumes are an elaborate fanfare of hats, fans and large hoop skirts decorated with glitter. The dance of the Dame Lorraine may vary to a dainty chip or to a contemporary lewd, all on the ground Jamette wine, the latter generally is awarded with a ruckus applause. The essence of the costume is the exaggeration of the bosoms and derrière to fit the physical characteristics of the Negro woman. The sway of the hip and high position of derrière delights the sexual appetite of the observer.

The clip shows the Dame Lorraine portrayed by a family of sisters. One Dame Lorraine has called her costume, short season as she complained over the difficulty of getting fabric to cover the length of her gown. The last is a tribute to the cricketer, Brian Lara. Above: The Dame Lorraine at the traditional Mas in St. James, Trinidad and Tobago. Next, Bats.

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