Class Descriptions: Las Bomberas de la Bahia

Bomba, Puerto Rico’s oldest community music and dance tradition developed as a result of the slave trade to the island. It served to sustain our ancestors and continues to sustain bomberos/as, bomba practitioners, today as our communities in Puerto Rico and the Diaspora contribute to keeping it a living cultural art form. In the tradition of Bomba the improvisational skills of the dancer, drummer and lead vocalist are all important and integral to the form.

The dancer makes the music with her or his moves, for specific accents and figures, piquetes, which the lead drummer has to execute on the drum. This occurs in the form of a friendly competition where both the dancer and drummer showcase their skills. The lead vocalist calls the song, which sets the rhythm and speed and is answered in a call and response style by all who are willing to join in on the coro, to which the lead vocalist response with improvised lyrics specific to that song.

Beginning Level:
Students will learn the Basic Dance Steps for the Rhythms of Sica, Yuba, and Cuembe in the style from Santurce, Puerto Rico. In percussion part of the class students will learn the basic rhythms on the drums, maraca, and cuas as well as the some traditional songs for each of the three main rhythms.

Intermediate Level I (dance and percussion):
Students will learn some piquetes or specific accents to begin the improvised conversation with the lead drummer.

The workshops will begin with learning dance, rhythm patterns on drums, cuas, and maraca as well as songs for Holandes (Santurce Style) and Seis Corrido (Loiza Style). In the first intermediate class we will focus on learning Holandes and Seis Corrido rhythms which are more challenging than the three rhythms we will be teaching in the Beginning level class.

Intermediate Level 2 (percussion with some Dance):
Students will learn more of the improvisational language in bomba in both the Dance (piquetes) and percussion aspects (breaks and responding to dancer piquetes). We’ll work more on improvising in the rhythms of Sica, Yuba, and Cuembe and pay specific attention to the variation of languages between the different rhythms and in response to the songs as well
Students are permitted to record our classes : AUDIO ONLY

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