To contextualise our work, here is a brief background of some of the dance styles that have inspired us in creating:
Nearly 1 million Africans from West and Central Africa were captured and brought to Cuba during the 16th through 19th centuries, and Afro-Cuban dances reflect the traditions and dances of four main groups of Africans that were enslaved. The majority of enslaved Africans in Cuba were Yoruba, and thus the Yoruba religion is so strong in Cuba still today, and as the religion includes drumming and dancing, these feature in Afro Cuban focloric dances. Orishas (spelled òrìṣà in Yoruba), are gods that reflect the manifestations of the Supreme God/the All Father Olodumare or Olofi. Like humans, Orisha may have a preferred color, foods and objects. They will also have their own characteristics, stories, dances and rhythms.
Originally, the term rumba was used as a synonym for party in northern Cuba. Traditionally, the three main styles of rumba are Yambú, Columbia and Guaguanco, each of which has a characteristic dance, rhythm and singing.
A style of Rumba, The Columbia is a virtuosic solo dance, generally though not always performed by males as a competition. The dance of the Columbia is acrobatic, mimetic, and competitive; one dancer follows another, each trying to outdo the rest. The Columbia is the most virtuosic showpiece for the rumba dancer, with a wide vocabulary of movements that can include gestures from Abakuá, Congo, or Yoruba dancing; Tumba Francesa from Oriente (which is to say, Afro-Caribbean Domingan / Haitian influence); Spanish dancing; pantomimes and mini-dramas that can involve boxing, household tasks, or memories of slavery days; and moves from later genres like tap or breaking (breakdance). Women also insisted on dancing columbia, traditionally the province of the male dancer. The most famous Columbiana was Matanzas’s Andrea Baró, but Moliner and Gutiérrez also recall the names of Chaní, Concepción, Sombí and Aguedita
Is a style of Rumba, a couple dance of sexual competition between the male and female, often in a circle. The male tries to “catch” his partner with a single thrust of his pelvis. This erotic movement is called the vacunao (‘vaccination’ or more specifically ‘injection’), a gesture symbolizing sexual penetration. The vacunao can also be expressed with a sudden gesture made by the hand or foot. The drummer often accents the vacunao. Holding onto the ends of her skirt while seductively moving her upper and lower body in contrary motion, the female “opens” and “closes” her skirt. The male attempts to distract the female with fancy steps, until he is in position to “inject” her. The female reacts by quickly turning away, bringing the ends of her skirts together, or covering her groin area with her hand (botao), symbolically blocking the “injection.” Most of the time the male dancer does not succeed in “catching” his partner. The dance is performed with ‘good-natured humour’ David Peñalosa.
A style of acrobatic dancing originating in the mid-1970s in New York, often performed to hip hop & funk, and characterized by intricate toprock (stand up moves), get downs (moves to transition to the floor), fast footwork (such as 6 step), and power moves (such as windmills). The dance is improvised and usually happens as a a battle in the cypher or circle.
Rocking as it was originally referred to, also known as Uprock or the Brooklyn Rock, is a competitive dance battle from New York in the early 1970’s. Evolved from Salsa and other popular dance forms, the youth were dancing this in efforts to avoid joining gangs, to escape violence, and as entertainment.The dance consists of footwork , burns and a four point body movement called the “jerk”. The battle or fight is performed to the whole song, and the break in the music is where they will jerk on the ‘Apache line’.