The Origins of Afro-Caribbean Dance

All forms of Afro-Caribbean dance have their roots in Africa.In the 15th to 18th century when the slaves were being brought over to America from Africa, they were mostly gathered from the western coast of North Senegal and South Angola.The reasons for most of them coming from this region is because the European traders thought it easier and less expensive to transport slaves from the west coast of Africa. It was impractical to take slaves from the east side of the continent because of the high mortality rates.
The Goree Island, which is right off the shore of Senegal, was a holding place for the slaves, before they made their long journey to their final destinations. It was here that many of the diverse cultures seemed to have merged and later formed what would become different aspects of Afro-Caribbean dance.For example, the Woulousodong is a dance of the Wolorf people in Senegal. One of this dance’s different interpretations, when learned in America, is that the movements represented those of the slaves while they walked up the gang plank. The African explanation tells us the movements signify adolescents breaking away from their parents’ household and taking on new responsibilities. This is one instance where the interpretation of African dance has changed oversea.The meaning of the dance now became the experience of the people, as a whole.The one thing that they had in common was the slave trade, so many of the earlier forms of these dances reflected that experience.
As these slaves began to settle in different countries, the emergence of a more cultural specific dance for started to form.Yet these new forms of dance still had strong African roots.For example, many of the slaves brought to Brazil, Haiti and Cuba were Yoruba-speaking people from southwest Nigeria. They worshipped more than 400 gods, which are still worshipped today. No doubt, they brought their religious practic


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