Yari Taina Rodriguez Benitez
"Bomba Dance: Embodying
Estoy buscando un
árbol que me de sombra
de cada área contiene a su pasado y esos
productos son la cristalización de la expresividad de cada época".
My first culture shock when
I moved to New York was having a diversity of people approach me to say
that I didn't look, act or talk like a Puerto Rican. Some meaning to say
that it was better, others meaning to say that I wasn't Boricua enough,
and the rest with a legitimate curiosity about my culture. It was the
first time my identity had been questioned based on binary distinctions
with superficial contradictions. Within my colonial reality I had learned
to identify myself with an additive quality rather than a fusion of such
and such cultures. Thus being latinoamericana, hispanoamericana, afroantillana,
caribeña and puertorriqueña; negra, negrita, trigueña,
café, canela, india, blanquita and jincha all at once though depending
on the context. Therefore, any definition that can be applied to identify
puertoricanness will necessarily overflow with excessive and slippery
social identities. Intertwined with all of these social identities lives
bomba, and it was in New York that I was to find it again in my path.
My childhood memories of bomba as a community event are full of images
from places and people whom I love, but for whatever reason are no longer
a part of my life. My extended family from Barrio Obrero and Las Monjas,
the teachers of el Taller Afroantillano and friends from Villa Palmera
who during family gatherings would improvise with whatever instruments
were available a feast that could go on for several days depending on
the occasion. The women would cook or dance while men were either playing
music, dominoes or dancing with one of the women, and the children were
sometimes dancing, but most of the time running around playing street
games. Music could go on for hours, when it was time for a break or to
eat, radios were turned on with mostly salsa and you could still spot
someone dancing. Music would naturally flow from salsa to rumba to bomba
to plena to décima to aguinaldo and so on. Men would play drums
and cuatro, while some women would play the guitar, and children would
grab the maracas, palitos, and panderetas, everybody would sing. As my
life drifted apart from this setting I continued to experience the same
type of community gatherings, but with a shift in flavor and intensity.
This is to say that as I drew apart from a very specific region, bomba
-as a fully participatory event- became less accessible to me.
Now I understand that this shift was not only regional, but social. Nueva
Trova took the place that bomba had occupied before as an instrument to
bond with peers against oppression. Bomba being my elders' tool within
a poor marginalized black community; Nueva Trova serving as a symbol of
anti-imperialism for a group of educated idealistic youth. I would then
go to bomba and plena festivals only to find that bomba was rarely performed.
When it was performed, it was done by folkloric groups, which would stylize
and choreograph what was played out in the community as a ritual of spiritual
and political bonding between the participants. These groups tend to be
traditionalists in that they claim authenticity within the genre in an
attempt to pass it on. This only becomes a source of conflict on how "authentic"
can spontaneous gatherings be and how much change will be accepted by
those who have claimed authority over what constitutes bomba. Bomba becomes
under this context an expression from the past to be preserved. It is
not my intention to argue on the origins or the authenticity of bomba.
It is more of an attempt to understand the meaningful ways in which bomba
inflicts the lives of those who are marginalized in Puerto Rico by way
of racism and class, and specifically how I have experienced it in New
It is through migration that a lot of Puerto Ricans experience racism
directly without it being disguised through a class discourse. It becomes
especially problematic when one identifies oneself as a non-racist anything
but black, only to discover that whatever favorable situation one lived
in the island -real or imagined- meant nothing in a place where you become
a black other. This is the reality of many Puerto Ricans who were used
to identify themselves as Indians -if dark skinned- before thinking of
themselves as blacks, and more so of those light skinned who would identify
themselves as Spanish, attributing the category of black to the people
from neighboring islands. If blackness is masqueraded as that of the foreign,
bomba has to be brought into a political discourse of that from the past
that no longer exists based on a rhetoric that all foreign slaves disappeared
once slavery was abolished.
Bomba was developed into a cultural expression when slaves were allowed
to gather on certain occasions, becoming their instrument to establish
a sense of community by telling the other stories, those that otherwise
would've died forgotten. Stories - that could be very personal between
members of the community- and legends were then passed on from generation
to generation and traveled from island to island. Used also as a conspiracy
tool for freedom from slavery, Bomba is always about challenge and communication.
Conversations are held between the danzante and the tambor until one of
them gives up in the attempt to control the rhythm. Messages were sent
through corporal dialogue right in front of the landowners who didn't
understand this exchange.
Today Bomba isn't popularized by radio, TV and the traditional mass media,
but we can find it in fiestas and celebrations from certain regions like
Santurce, Loiza, Mayagüez, Ponce and Guayama. It continues to be
subversive in challenging the notions of nationhood; in accepting our
African roots; and in offering an alternate understanding of our spirituality,
sensuality and of our relation with nature. I have experienced three different
formats of performing bomba to this date: a) the staged professional folklorist
type of presentation, which loses active participation from the community;
b) a middle ground between the folklorists and the spontaneous community
members where musician members of the community gather to form a professional
group that performs in social spaces like cultural centers, pubs, plazas
and festivals; we can also insert into this category bombazos that are
organized so as to imitate that of a spontaneous situation c) and the
spontaneous gathering of a close-knitted group of community members.
staged performance group performance
a) energy flow b) energy flow
c) complete community participation
energy flowing within participants
eliminating any audience
Bomba is not a religious ceremony
even though it does connect its participants into a profound spiritual
experience when performed in a spontaneous context . As the energy current
flows within the boundaries of the circle/community it accumulates and
feeds the intensity of the ritual. Thus, one can control the level of
intensity by transmitting less or more energy towards the center of the
circle rather than diminishing or exaggerating the performance in any
way. Synchrony between dancers and drums is not achieved, but rather a
polyrhythmic sensitivity will flirtatiously mark the rhythm pushing the
beat rather than on time with it. The moving body becomes the musical
notation for the drummer subidor to follow - movement becomes sound as
the body becomes an instrument. The bomba circle is a space for gesture
to become dance; where asymmetry and unbalance through abrupt -while subtle-
segmentation movements are expressed for long hours; and where conventions
of time and rhythm are assaulted and transformed. It is through the dancer's
improvisation segment that the creative force is brought to an intensive
momentum of rhythmic virtuosity as he/she is challenging the buleador
primo to keep up with a pattern of moving beats and slaps of the drum
through his/her body. A time loop is opened where the notion of time becomes
space for energy accumulations to manifest. Whatever the outcome, the
whole community will gain. The idea of the collective artist introduced
by Maya Deren is a concept that can be applied to this moment of artistic
flow through a conversational process. To dance bomba is much more than
an accumulation of steps, it requires an interiorization of a philosophy
of life and a sensibility of that which is not translatable -the additive
character of our culture through movement.
Remeneate, remeneate casco
"Memor, la palabra latina,
según comenta David F. Krell en su erudito libro sobre reminiscencia
y escritura "Of Memory, Reminiscence and Writing", pertenece
a un núcleo semántico asociado siempre con el pensamiento
como actividad, como práctica. Imprimir, para los antiguos filósofos
y poetas, era una manera de no olvidar, una actividad. La memoria está
a menudo asociada a la escritura o a la iconografía, a todo lo
que hace posible la conservación, para ser recuperado en otro momento.
La tábula rasa era eso, precisamente, una tableta de cera, en la
que se podía imprimir, y claro, borrar."
Arcadio Díaz Quiñones
The fact that bomba is not
often discussed among scholars is revealing to an understanding of the
development of this music-dance form as an expression of self-identification
from a Puerto Rican community against a national agenda of exclusion.
If one considers the categories proposed by Diana Taylor of archive -as
that of the "supposedly enduring materials"- and repertoire
-as that of "embodied practice/knowledge"- it will further help
us in understanding how in the continuity of history through dance one
can discover bodies of resistance in the dancing bodies of bomba.
Bomba, as a music-dance genre that privileges rhythm over melody , originates
with the African people that were violently displaced from their communities
and brought to work in the sugar plantations as slaves. In colonial Puerto
Rico under Spain, African slaves were transmitting rhythmic memories from
their land that managed to captivate the energy of the blacks as they
went from island to island in the Caribbean. Thus, a community emerged
within a slave culture that took on a regional character determined by
the ethnic composition of the enslaved, the work routine and type of labor
. Music and dance that traveled from Africa into Puerto Rico, as well
as the rest of the Caribbean, came mostly from ethnic groups of West Africa:
"Although some slaves were taken from East Africa (Mozambique, from
Angola, and from the region of the Congo, the majority of those shipped
to the NewWorld came from the coastal area of West Africa, along the Gulf
of Guinea. The heart of the slave territory lay in Nigeria, Dahomey, western
Congo, and the Gold Coast. This region is still inhabited, as it was in
the time of the slave trade, by the Ashanti, the Congo, the Dahomeans,
the Yoruba, and the Bini. Most of the African survivals found in the Americas
can be traced to these main cultural-linguistic groups." (Gilbert
Katrina Hazzard-Gordon, in
her essay "Dancing Under the Lash: Sociocultural Disruption, Continuity,
and Synthesis", argues that "[t]hough the ceremonial context
and the specific uses of movement of each enslaved ethnic group's dances
were different, the basic vocabulary of West African movement was strikingly
similar across ethnic delineation
Such common characteristics included
segmentation and delineation of various body parts, including hips, torso,
head, arms, hands, and legs, the use of multiple meter as polyrhythmic
sensitivity, angularity, multiple centers of movement, asymmetry as balance,
percussive performance, mimetic performance, improvisation, derision dances
and call and response". This motor-muscle rhythmic memory enabled
Africans from different ethnic groups to merge within a point of commonality
through their bodies into a collective self-identification against a violent
de-culturation process in their new land.
Bomba gets its name from the African word bomba meaning drum . Its basic
structure is one of call and response between a lead singer and a chorus,
with songs that to this date continue to have words of African and Creole
origin despite that very few people understand them. Besides singing,
a maraca, cúa and two drums would compose the bomba rhythms in
its previous form. A "buleador" or "guiador", which
establishes the basic rhythmic pattern or "toque de bomba",
and a "buleador primo", "subidor" or "repicador"
who along with dancers will improvise another set of beats imposed over
a set backround "toque". One of the determining factors of being
a good drummer is to perform the different "toques" of bomba:
" Seis corrido
" Cuembé o güembé
Music and dance are to be approached
as a whole when considering bomba, revealed through this old saying: "cuando
la bomba ñama el que no menea oreja menea una nalga". Angel
G. Quintero Rivera, in his essay "El tambor camuflado", describes
a traditional bomba toque as follows:
"Tradicionalmente el baile se desarrollaba en la siguiente forma.
Un grupo de personas cantan alrededor de los tambores; de momento un bailador
(o bailadora) comienza a improvisar su baile en diálogo con el
tambor repicador. Es decir, en lugar de organizar sus movimientos rítmicos
a base del toque, del patrón rítmico básico, que
es la forma generalizada en el baile latino popular moderno, el toque
queda como trasfondo rítmico implícito y sus movimientos
se estructuran para dialogar con la improvisación creativa. Para
esta última se siguen unos patrones tradicionales; pero su éxito
como bailador no reside sólo en conocer estos patrones, sino en
su capacidad de superar al tambor repicador en la versatilidad improvisadora.
Después de un tiempo el bailador se retira y se lanza un segundo
bailador al ruedo, también en diálogo con el tambor improvisador.
Cuando termina se lanza un tercero, y así sucesivamente. La naturaleza
de reto a la creatividad improvisadora se reafirma en la siguiente práctica:
si el bailarín lograra superar en virtuosismo improvisador creativo
al tamborero repicador, este segundo, en homenaje, acepta la victoria
del bailarín, lo cual se expresa comenzando a tañir el toque,
es decir, a repetir el ritmo del tambor guiador, lo que se conoce en esta
tradición como "bomba larga".
It is through improvisation
that bomba has been able to survive centuries of repression as it allows
the moving bodies to re-generate themselves within their specific cultural
references of the immediate present. If we understand dance as an artistic
response to society rather than a self-explanatory entity that multiplies
corporal reactions to particular sounds we can see how, while transmitting
communal histories through generations in a cumulative process of ever-changing,
bomba dancers are telling significant narratives through their polyrhythmic
movements. In the challenging of the rhythmic pattern established in "el
toque" they are also challenging values of a dominant culture who
praise the melodic body of a non-gravitational ballerina. If we consider
Schechner's definition of performance as "twice-behaved behavior",
how bomba is transmitted and it's function as a non-linguistic way of
thinking identities could be understood as a 1-5a-5b restoration of these
performative identities with a spiral relation between past-present-future.
Not only are the bomba dancers producing cultural memory, but they are
also re-writing history as it is known through their bodies.
Bomba dance -as a secular ritual- enabled social intercourse and became
a means of political manifestation by camouflaging insurrectionary activity.
There are various incidents documented where bomba was used to actively
resist the slave system in the XIX century:
"La convocatoria a un
baile de bomba fue utilizada en 1825 para organizar una sublevación
de esclavos en los sectores Capitanejo y Salitral en la costa ponceña-juanadina."
"Así lo ilustra
la conspiración de Bayamón en 1821 y la de Ponce, en 1826.
El baile de bomba constituyó uno de los métodos más
utilizados para exteriorizar los sentimientos de coraje y rebeldía
reprimidos y, además, la manera de planear conspiraciones. Por
esa razón las autoridades insistieron en que no podía haber
bailes sin permiso del gobierno." Guillermo A. Baralt
Paradoxically, for the masters
it also represented a form of pacifying any desire to rebel as some slave-owners
el apego natural por la música de estas
que sólo se necesita tocar un poco de música
" In othering the bodies of the slaves by
identifying their nature within a lack of selfhood, they were marginalizing
furthermore the cultural production that these communities were going
through and neglecting to identify its force. Celeste Fraser Delgado and
José Esteban Muñoz argue how "[l]inking rhythmic movement
to nature negates dance as a conscious strategic practice". In considering
public space and its politics N'Gûgî Wa Thiong'o argues that
"[t]he open space among the people is the most dangerous area because
the most vital
Thus under colonialism there followed attempted suppression
or strong limitation of all open-air performances within the territorial
space." The abrupt and spontaneous movements of the bomba dancers
in their conversations with the drummer and the community in circle ,
which served as a way of making satirical commentaries on that structured
life of the sugarcane plantations had a power that the Spaniards needed
"[P]uede tomarse la carta solicitando permiso para celebrar un baile
de bomba el domingo, 11 de octubre de 1840. Dice Morales Carrión:
A pesar del doloroso desgarramiento que la trata y la venta de esclavos
ocasionaban en los lazos familiares y tribales, en la zona de la esclavitud
negra de América se mantenía a veces cierta cohesión
social, aún conservando los esclavos sus reyezuelos africanos,
ejemplo de la persistencia en las nuevas tierras de los nexos ancestrales.
Ciriaco Sabat, rey de los congos
en Mayagüez solicitó licencia para celebrar un baile de bomba
con motivo de las fiestas a San Miguel y la Virgen del Rosario. La carta
fué firmada por Ventura Reyes porque Sabat no sabía escribir.
La solicitud de Sabat fue denegada por Santiago Méndez Vigo, gobernante
del país. El General y Conde de Santa Cruz, Méndez Vigo,
consideró peligrosas las reunions de esclavos porque se habían
recibido informes sobre haitianos que difundían propaganda subversiva
por la costa oeste de Puerto Rico."
What could not be controlled
through military force-that of the private space-would be appropriated
and interpreted in order to codify and control the knowledge that it contained.
In her essay "On Colonial Forgetting", Jill Lane speaks of the
sword as a "kind of pen, inscribing the narrative Of Spanish empire
onto the body of the land and its people; here the pen is already a kind
of sword, violently reinscribing the newly dicovered land and peoples
of America into the book of empire". The archive will constitute
the ultimate space of power where the "other" and its innovative
forces are erased from the history of humanity. Against conflict and repression,
bomba performers challenge official discourse from a liminal space -of
not being Puerto Rican nor African- and continue to preserve a collective
memory where meaning and function of dance as a form of relating to the
content of their social interactions is maintained.
In order to understand the official disappearance of bomba in Puerto Rico
and therefore, how it is that bomba dancers re-configure the written history
through choreography, one needs to contextualize it with the social historical
accounts that lead to a process of psychological "whitening"
of the race.
Afraid of possible rebellions, Spain re-enforces its military presence
in San Juan during the XIX century, not just to police its local population,
but also to fight against the rebels of neighboring islands. Being that
the criollo elite from Puerto Rico enjoyed a privileged social status
due to their military careers-not to mention their participatory financial
situation with the sugar and coffee industry-this was a class that did
not seek independence from Spain, but rather sought a reform process where
they would gain greater political participation. Puerto Rico, or should
I say San Juan, became a space of counter-revolution, where loyalty to
the metropolis was expressed even in acts of self-identification as "americanos"
against the metropolis.
If San Juan became a space of counter-revolution, the interior of the
island had already become a space of counter-plantation . The counter-plantation
in Puerto Rico was of a different nature then in the rest of the Caribbean,
due to the military-commercial function of the Spanish colonies during
the first centuries of possession. Against the military city was formed
a rural society who lived to survive and was not involved in any national
agenda. Those who escaped were not just slaves, but also those seeking
a space away from class and racism like the many Jews and moors who were
escaping from ethnic repression.
A counter-culture was created outside the state's jurisdiction, who did
not view the rural world of the cimarrón as a threat but rather
as the "habitat of indolent primitives". This world of fugitives
would lay the roots of what are considered to be Puerto Rican popular
forms that avoided direct confrontation with the colonial state. Bomba
instead, laid its foundation on the center of officialdom as a form of
direct confrontation with it. This is not to say that these two worlds
were antagonist to eachother, but rather fluctuations among the two were
common as can be appreciated through the regional music expressions. The
musicologist James McCoy, in his study of aguinaldo and bomba establishes
a rhythmic parallel between these two genres which is pertinent if one
considers that aguinaldo and seis are the music expressions associated
with el jíbaro
"While the African influence is not so strongly felt in the aguinaldo
as in the bomba
it is nevertheless significant. The driving unrelenting
strong rhythmic impulse found in the extant aguinaldo does not originate
in Spain nor Arabia, but instead in the music brought by the slaves from
the force of powerful pulsation found in the Puerto Rican
aguinaldo is not evident in the Spanish villancico nor even in many of
the Puerto Rican villancicos."
Quintero Rivera writes of the
lexical interrelation between bomba and seis by referencing the chronicles
from the XVIII century of André Pierre Ledru
"La mezcla de blancos, mulatos y negros libres formaba un grupo bastante
ejecutaron sucesivamente bailes africanos y criollos al
son de la guitarra y del tamboril llamado vulgarmente bomba."
Quintero Rivera also calls
our attention to the fact that the word bomba has been kept in one of
the seis versions -seis bombeao- while at the same time the different
versions of bomba dances are often referred to as seises; which leads
him to think that the connection between these two genres are greater
than what has been acknowledged by traditional musicology. Quintero Rivera
goes further on in finding that
"En un corto trabajo del etnomusicólogo Emanuel Dufrasne aparece
un elemento que considero sumamente sugestivo, aunque requiriría
mucha más investigación adicional. Dufrasne transcribe la
música de un cordófono de orígen africano obtenida
en sus investigaciones sobre la bomba. La transcripción aparece
toda en re, con una sola exepción, y es significativo que sea precisamente
el tono de re el más utilizado en la música de cuatro de
aguinaldos y seises. En la transcripción, la división de
tiempos se hace en tresillos, figura que predomina también en las
transcripciones de bomba del decano del estudio del folklore musical en
el país, Francisco López Cruz. Es nuevamente significativo
que el tresillo abunde también en el seis campesino y el aguinaldo
(el tresillo es fundamental también en la danza
By establishing this connection,
Quintero Rivera is also revealing the myth that these two worlds were
opposed and that el jíbaro was from la montaña while the
slave lived in coastal areas. If there is some truth in Quintero Rivera's
argument that these jíbaro music expressions were camouflaging
resistance by creating melodic rhythms, it was probably a response to
the repressive violence that slaves continued to encounter. It is really
interesting that the very first music reference of Puerto Rico identified
by Quintero Rivera will say
"Tumba la la la,
Tumba la la le
que en Poltorrico
escravo no quedé."
Again stressing that dialectic
tension of the puertorriqueño/jíbaro/español against
If one considers that these cimarrones -who later became jíbaros-
needed to adopt a Hispanic identity, one will understand the dialectic
tension between plantation/counter-plantation that characterizes the cultural
production in the Caribbean. The "African heritage" of our culture
will then be traced to the history of slavery, while that of the jíbaro
pardo became the authentic native expression with European "contributions".
In describing the types of dances performed in 1849, Manuel A. Alonso,
who is considered to be the first costumbrista, says:
"En Puerto Rico hay dos clases de bailes: unos de sociedad, que no
son otra cosa que el eco repetido allí de los de Europa; y otros,
llamados de garabato, que son propios del país, aunque dimanan
a mi entender de los nacionales españoles mezclados con los de
los primitivos habitantes; conócense además algunos de las
de Africa, introducidos por los negros de aquellas regiones, pero que
nunca se han generalizado, llamándoseles bailes de bomba, por el
instrumento que sirve en ellos de música
los [bailes] de los
negros de Africa y los de los criollos de Curazao no merecen incluirse
bajo el título de esta escena [Bailes de Puerto Rico]; pues aunque
se ven en Puerto Rico, nunca se han generalizado: con todo hago mención
de ello porque siendo muchos aumentan la grande variedad de danzas que
un extranjero puede ver en solo una Isla, y hasta sin moverse de una población."
This description reflects how
el jíbaro came to be understood as the European descendant, stressing
the tension between those forced into a de-culturation process and those
who will disguise themselves through an aculturation process. In the exclusion
of Bomba from that of the Puerto Rican there is a discursive negation
of a black presence in our culture; the garabato dances were opposed to
that of the African even when the word itself emerged from an African
instrument . Alvarez Nazario explains how these dances were later related
to popular dances that were not accompanied by drums, thus identifying
them against the plantations, which becomes the space associated with
If it is true that class rather than race has occupied the discussion
forums of sociologists and historians, it is because we have gone through
a process of social othering. This is to say that africannes is written
onto our black bodies in a way that is then read in terms of their identities
as that of the foreign, thus that of whom will never entirely become Puerto
Rican. The following copla clearly exposes this social dilemma
"La tierra se va a perder:
culpa la tiene el dinero,
que el negro quiere ser blanco
y el mulato caballero"
Franz Fanon explains, through the idea of introjection, how the body configured
as "the other" "starts to perceive his own body as uncanny,
no longer familiar, even to himself" (words from Lepecki) . The frase
mejorar la raza is not uncommon in the island, as it was part of the political
and ideological agenda of the dominant class to "whiten" the
race, the black considered as a social plague. Babin will speak about
this in the following terms
"Tal vez el impulso del esclavo hacia el logro de su libertad en
el siglo pasado le hizo temeroso del color de su piel, buscando 'mejorar
The military re-enforcement
in several ocassions during the XIX century to control and police the
population; the immigration wave promoted by the government in order to
enter capital from white christians as cualitative whitening process;
the 1848 law Bando contra la raza africana, that arbitrarily cut individual
liberties of many habitants merely by the pigmentation of their skin,
and the Libreta de jornalero that took the place of the racist law are
just a few historical facts that oppose the argument that racism has escaped
the Puerto Rican nation, which continues to be a prevalent argument in
most of the official discourse in the present time. The uncanny bodies
of the popular masses of Puerto Rico have been constructed through a performative
action that is revealed in the many descriptions of el jíbaro as
"Color moreno, frente despejada,
mirar lánguido, altivo y penetrante,
la barba negra, pálido el semblante,
rostro enjuto, nariz proporcionada,
mediana talla, marcha acompañada,
el alma de ilusiones anhelante,
agudo ingenio, libre y arrogante,
pensar inquieto, mente acalorada,
humano, afable, justo, dadivoso,
en empresas de amor siempre variable,
tras la Gloria y placer siempre afanoso,
y en amor a su patria insuperable:
éste es a no dudarlo, fiel diseño
para copiar un buen puertorriqueño." (Alonso, 1849)
clasificación hallada en las Leyes de Indias en donde se dice que
Español con india, sale mestizo.
Mestizo con española, sale castizo.
Castizo con española, sale español.
Español con negra, sale mulato.
Mulato con española, sale morisco.
Morisco con española, sale salta-atrás.
Salta-atrás con india, sale chino.
Chino con mulata, sale lobo.
Lobo con mulata sale jíbaro.
Jíbaro con india, sale albarrazado.
Albarrazado con negra, sale cambujo.
Cambujo con india, sale sambaigo.
Saimbaigo con mulata, sale calpan-mulato.
Calpan-mulato con sambaigo, sale tente en el aire.
Tente en el aire con mulata, sale no te entiendo.
No te entiendo con india, sale ahí estás.
el jíbaro tendría 31/64 de español, 25/64 de
africano y 8/64 de indio; pero hoy los jíbaros somos españoles
enteros y completes por deber, por derecho, por conveniencia y por afección:
ciudadanos españoles por todos cuatro costados, a pesar de los
matices de este u otro color físico o politico." (José
Pablo Morales y Miranda, 1876)
"El concepto jíbaro
nos entranca España
El jíbaro representa lo más
entrañable, resistente y puro de la nacionalidad puertorriqueña"
(María Teresa Babin, 1958)
la pura raza negra
siempre fué perdiendo terreno en la Isla en favor de la raza mezclada,
y las dos juntas lo fueron perdiendo en cuanto a la blanca." (Augusto
Bomba dancers, as they continue
to choreograph a counter-history throughout time and space in the urban
centers where such performative construction of the Puerto Rican body
is imposed as a national discourse, are embodying resistance. Against
a printed memory that deliberately erased all signs of violence and diversity
creating an imaginary hegemonic nation -La Gran Familia Puertorriqueña-
the dancing bodies of bomba refuse to alienate themselves from their corporealities;
posing a challenge to public norms through the intimacy of the bomba circle-community.
As a participatory music-dance genre, bomba challenges the