Over 30 traditional Jamaican dances have been identified here, and according to the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) they fall roughly under three categories:
African derived, European derived and Creole-which a mixture of both types.
The African derived dances are mainly religious ones being integral parts of ceremonies of worship. These dances take the ritualists into the realm the spiritual and heighten their readiness for possession e.g. Kumina, Myal and Pocomania.
Many believe that we are highly indebted to our Maroon Communities for the preservation of these aspects of our African Heritage.
There are also other African derived dances that were social in intent and which are still performed in Jamaica. These include Etu, Quadrille and Maypole which, though originally of religious significance, is now largely social.
The dances which accompany work songs and ring games also fall into this category.
The best European legacy is said to be the Morris dance, brought to Jamaica by indentured servants from England, Scotland, and Ireland.
The Creole dances that were created in Jamaica tend to borrow elements from both European and African cultures e.g. Johnkannu [Jonkonnu] - the oldest and most popular, and Bruckin's, Pucomina and Revival.
Dance is also represented during the Jamaican Hosay, a Caribbean East Indian festival.
Jonkonnu and Hosay are considered secular dances, despite the performance of Jonkonnu around Christmas time.
For detailed information on each of these dances, see the list of traditional Jamaican dances.
National Libray of Jamaica
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