2 MAJOR REASONS THAT LED TO THE CREATION OF A UNIQUE “AFRICAN” INSPIRED DANCE CULTURE WITHIN THE “GARIFUNA” COMMUNITY

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GARIFUNA DANCE

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Residing mainly around the Central American region (these days) is a community renowned for its dances referred to as “Garifuna”. This community basically originated from the island of St Vincent in the Caribbean. However, they were soon banished from their own land by the British as a result they were forced to seek refuge around the coastal region of Honduras. So, after having gradually settled in their new homeland they slowly began developing a unique dance culture mainly inspired from Africa. Furthermore, there are two major reasons that led to the creation and development of this unique “African” inspired dance culture within the “Garifuna” community. Those reasons are as follows:

REASON 1: HISTORY OF A HEAVY AFRICAN INFLUENCE WITHIN THE “GARIFUNA” COMMUNITY:

Historically, speaking the “Garifuna” community originally belonged to Africa and were only brought to the St Vincent Island in the Caribbean, when the so the called “Trans-Atlantic” slave trade was at its peak during 17th, 18th, and 19th century. So since the ancestors of this community belonged to Africa it is natural that the key elements belonging to this culture (African) would be passed on from one generation to another. It was thus this heavy influence of the African culture that became the trigger point for development of a unique dance culture within this community.

REASON 2: DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICAN INFLUENCED MUSIC:

One must remember that music always holds key to the development of a rich dance culture in any society or community in the world. So due to the already existing heavy influence of the culture of Africa on this community, musical elements belonging to the African continent gradually began to be used more frequently. For example, drums (similarly used in the African culture) became the main instrument that was used by this community in most of their music.

It was thus using African culture and music as an inspiration that the “Garifuna” community eventually developed unique dance forms such as the “Charikawa” which basically involved many steps borrowed from the African continent.

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