Parading the Carnivalesque: Masking Circum-Caribbean Demands

Yvonne Daniel

in Caribbean and Atlantic Diaspora Dance

Published by University of Illinois Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780252036538
Published online April 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780252093579 | DOI:
Parading the Carnivalesque: Masking Circum-Caribbean Demands

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This chapter examines the Carnival and other parade dancing that have brought the people of the African Diaspora together in festive merrymaking. More specifically, it highlights the Carnivalesque experience associated with Circum-Caribbean parading, from Carnaval in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, and Martinique to the Kanaval in Haiti, the Jonkonnu in Jamaica, and the Saints Day Processions in the Caribbean. The chapter begins with an overview of the characteristics of Carnival dance and goes on to describe and compare major masking and parade dance traditions in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, and Brazil. It argues that Carnival dancing not only functions as a form of entertainment, but in many cases as a medium for sociopolitical criticism, and especially for challenging social and cultural authority. The chapter concludes with an assessment of carnivalesque's contemporary messages.

Keywords: parade dancing; Carnivalesque experience; Carnaval; Kanaval; Jonkonnu; Saints Day Processions; Carnival dance; masking; sociopolitical criticism; African Diaspora

Chapter.  8394 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Dance

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