Chapter

Haitian Migration and Danced Identity in Eastern Cuba

Edited by Grete Viddal

in Making Caribbean Dance

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034676
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813046303 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813034676.003.0007
Haitian Migration and Danced Identity in Eastern Cuba

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Grete Viddal investigates dance traditions brought to eastern Cuba by two waves of migration from what is today Haiti, the first from those fleeing French Saint Domingue during the Haitian Revolution and the second, much larger, in the early 20th century when Haitian laborers arrived to cut sugarcane. Descendents of enslaved people and free people of color of the early arrivals have maintained the tumba francesa, which combines African-derived drum rhythms, patterns from French contredanse, and African-style solo improvisation. Viddal also discusses tajona, a processional tradition associated with 19th century coffee plantations. From the later migrants, she focuses on gagá (rara in Haiti), a carnivalesque parade, and on choreographies derived from Vodú practice. She illuminates how Haitian Cubans have increasingly highlighted the value of their heritage through folkloric performance.

Keywords: Grete Viddal; Haitian Cubans; eastern Cuba; tumba francesa; contredanse; gagá; rara in Haiti; tajona; Vodú; folkloric performance

Chapter.  3703 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Dance

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