Puerto Rican Folk Dances
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Bomba originated in African, which was brought over by African slaves who worked on Puerto Rico's sugar plantations in the 17th century. It's a rhythmic music using barrel-shaped drums covered with tightly stretched animal skins and played by hand. Bomba is described as a dialogue between dancer and drummer. It's as if the drummer were challenging the dancer to a rhythmic duel. The dance can go on just a long as the dancer can continue. Bomba, is divided into different rhythmic backgrounds and variations, such as the Sica, Cuembe, Yuba and Holandes.
In the mountains of Puerto Rico, the tradition of the Jíbaro (country folk) was to celebrate the coffee harvest with joyful music and dance. Jíbaro music and dance was the principal musical expression of the humble and hardworking mountain people who worked the coffee plantations and inland farms of Puerto Rico. Lively celebrations always ended with a Seis Chorreao, the fastest of all the Seis rhythms. Seis has its roots in the musical forms that came to Puerto Rico from Spain during the time of colonization and settlement in the late 17th century.
Plena is an important genre of folk music in Puerto Rico and typically associated with coastal regions of the island. The Plena is a narrative song that details the pains and ironies of people and life in their communities. The Plena's words deal with contemporary events and is often called "el periodico cantado", or a kind of living newspaper. Plena's has an up tempo rhythm that invites all to dance to its hypnotic melodies.
The Danza originated in Puerto Rico, and it is one of Puerto Rico's formal ballroom dances. It flourished in the second part of the 19th century in the salons of the elite, landowners and criollos who had strong cultural ties to Spain, and was later also accepted by others in Puerto Rican society. The Danza accentuates the use of a woman's hand fan creating a unspoken language between the dancers.