What Is the Bruckins Dance About?


The Bruckins dance was created to commemorate the Emancipation of slaves on August 1, 1883, it came to the public’s eye in Kingston at the Festival Of Arts in 1966. Bruckins was indented to help the people of Jamaica, to help them out of their struggle against the awful system, which existed then.

Emancipation meant liberation of an entire society from the ‘debilitating transgressions of incarceration manifested in the incivility of relations between human beings.’ And as Prof. Rex Nettleford said in his 1994 Emancipation Commemoration lecture to the church in general:

Bruckins and Jonkonnu are members of the creolised group of traditional dances for Jamaica  the dances reveals a unique mixture of African and European Influences. The movement was said to be derived from the Pavanne, a Eureopan court dance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Pavanna originated in Italy.

Bruckins take the form of a pageant, a bright processional parade of Kings, Queen, courtiers and other gentry. British royalty is mixed with African dance performance practices. The Brukins Dance is actually a shortened version of what is known as the Brukins Party.

According to Marcia, (Bruckins Time,01,7,02) Bruckins is a graceful dance involving an upright stance. The body moves forward by a marching step, the length of which is extended by thrusting the pelvis. There is also a horizontal semi-circular open and close step, which is unique to the Jamaican dance. A rowing motion of the arms accompanies these steps. The different movement and steps have such names as Full Back, Brag, Shiloh and Rally.

The Queen Party is an older tradition. It is used as a community fundraiser. It strongly resembles the Tea Meeting, where there is always a well-dressed Queen, with a veil. Customarily, it features men who dress like women and fight with swords.

Bruckins includes music from the drum, knocking of the sticks, a fife and singing songs.The drummers and singers do not dance but move with the procession. Today Bruckins is found mainly in Portland, the eastern section of the island.

The coordinated culture is however kept alive by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission through festivals.

My Impression of Brukins in our Jamaican culture is a unique mixture of events, people and places that influences us in a direction of truth. No matter how much Bad is going on now in the world, we can say it’s a little better than what it was 50 years ago. But we have lost our dance, or celebration our independence, we need a new dance, one with the same  intention to that of Brukins, but which entails  50 years of development. The Africans which came to Jamaica are full of dance, dance which is used in a way to express Culture and Heritage of what was. In today’s world the new generations have dance which is embedded into our genetics, genetics which are slowly being washed out with foreign cultures influence.


Figure 1- Picture-http://www.timeinjamaica.com/sites/default/files/imagepicker/1/bruckins-dancers.jpg


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvktJry98nY


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