Latin and Caribbean Dance
The various cultures in Latin America and the Caribbean have produced their own unique forms of dance. Latin and Caribbean Dance highlights dances indigenous to Cuba (mambo and cha-cha-cha), the Dominican Republic (merengue and bachata), Haiti (compas and Vodou ritual dances), Argentina (tango), and Brazil (samba and capoeira). Explore how each dance has developed and been adapted through European and African influences, as well as how they continue to develop in the modern world.
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The breath of this book was commendable, but the language and the translation of scholarly material was problematic. The book also doesn't address many of the Dutch, French, and English speaking Caribbean Islands. A few examples of issues are:
"Brazil was discovered by the Portuguese in the European search for a trade route to the Far East" pg. 70
The area was colonized by Portugal or was later called "Brazil". There was no "Brazil" before the Portuguese arrived nor did they "discover" land that was already inhabited by a cultured people for centuries.
"Whites, blacks, mulattos, and Asians mingle together while dancing salsa with acceptance and openness, reflecting the racial synthesis that originally produced Cuban dance music." pg. 88.
She's referring to "mulattos" in the United States. People stopped using mulatto for mixed race people in the U.S. around the same time they stopped calling black people "negros".
Frequent use of the word "New World" when historians and scholars stopped using that language decades ago. "New" compared to what?
"The Taino Indians disappear" pg. 93
This makes it seem that the Tainos just left. The Taino Indian populations dropped dramatically through European introduced diseases, massacres, slavery, rape, warfare, and famine brought about by the Spanish. Scholarship now shows that Spanish males often had children with Taino women so they bloodline did not completely disappear.
The book refers to "intermarriage" between Portuguese and Africans during the period of slavery. Portuguese men didn't "marry" their enslaved people. It's hard to tell if all of those relationships were consensual, but it's very difficult for truly consensual relationships to occur when one partner owns the other.
I understand that this is an introductory book, but it seems like it was written in the early 1970s with its remarks on African descendants, cultural synthesis, and Indigenous peoples' contributions to dance. The book also doesn't talk about dance as an act of resistance.
Roots of Caribbean and Latin American Music and Dance
Dances of Cuba
Dances of Hispaniola Dominican Republic
Dances of Hispaniola Haiti
Dance of Brazil Samba
Dances of Brazil Capoeira
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