DANZA-PEURTO RICO

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DANZA DANCE, PEURTO RICO

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Considered to be similar to “Waltz” is a dance style known as Danza. This “Ballroom” dance is said to have originated from a city called Ponce located in southern Puerto Rico. Apparently, danza is closely linked to a dance style known as “contradanza”. In addition, this style of dancing is usually performed in presence of a song comprising of nationalistic lyrics. Furthermore, it was during the beginning of the 19th century that attempts were made to fuse in elements belonging to Africa and European dance styles into danza.

a. History/origin of Danza:

Apparently, it was during the 19th century in opposition to the colonial rule exerted by the Spanish that this dance form was created in a city called Ponce situated in southern Peurto Rico. In addition, the use of a closed position by the performers in this dance style basically breaks the age old Spanish dancing tradition of maintaining decorum. Furthermore, the lyrics accompanying this dance style has been written in such way, so as to produce a sense of “patriotism” within the dancers performing as well as, in the viewing audience members.

b. Costumes used in the Danza:

Since this dance involves both male and females the costumes worn by the performers vary accordingly. They are as follows:

1. For females:

The costume worn includes a long flowing colourful dress and a fan held in the (generally) left hand which is used to convey the message “Someone is watching” to the partner. At times the fan may also be held close to the heart, in which case the message conveyed to the partner is “You have my heart”.

2. For males:

The attire worn mainly includes a white shirt, a black dinner jacket, a black trouser, a bow and a pair of black shoes.

c. Music involved in the Danza:

The musical instruments used in this dance style include the bombardino i.e. baritone horn and a snare drum, which essentially is a percussion instrument that produces a sharp staccato sound.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Danza:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the performers (i.e. male and females) arranging themselves in a closed ballroom position and dancing to the music using a four beat slow quick quick pattern feet movement. Furthermore, there are no training schools/centres available for this dance style since it is performed mainly in Puerto Rico, and has not spread around the globe as some of the other Latin American dances.

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