This page contains videos of & brief commentary about a small sample of Caribbean folk dances.

These Caribbean folk dances are posted for their aesthetic, folkloric, historical,
educational, and entertainment value.

Ms. Azizi Powell, Founder/Editor
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Latest revision- July 14, 2014

Click for selected example of Caribbean folk songs.

Also, click for a related post on Yanvalou (Haitian) dances.

Pancocojams is my first cultural blog.

Click for a related post on Bele dances from Martinique, West Indies.

Zumalayah is my second cultural blog.

All videos embedded on Cocojams .com are from . Videos are posted on this site for educational, entertainment, aesthetic, historical, and folkloric purposes. All rights to these videos remain with their respectful owners.

I sincerely thank all the video uploaders whose videos I have reposted on I also sincerely thank for helping to make these videos available to the general public. If an uploader of a video sends a request to for me to remove his or her video from, I will do so.

Please note that links to YouTube videos or to other online resources may not remain viable. Please also be aware that comments posted on YouTube viewer comments threads may not be suitable for children.

Please send links of videos of Caribbean folk dances for possible posting on this page. Links can be sent to

Please remember to include the name of the nation where this video was taped. Also please include any other information you know about that dance. I'm very interested in visitors' comments, additions, and corrections.

(These videos are reposted under the first letter of the name of the dance ,or if no dance name is given, the video is posted under the first letter of the nation indicated by the video uploader. That nation's name is given in parenthesis following the video's title.)

A, B

Soirée bélé (Martinique)

Uploaded by lesamisdubele on Nov 13, 2008
le robert etais chaud
Here's some information about this dance:
From [The writter didn't give his or her name.]

"Even if the etymology of the word is not clear, Bèlè encompasses a wide range of dances from the Island of Martinique. Product of West African patterns and European influences, on can say that Bèlè is part of the Creole aesthetic so unique and so typical of the Caribbean. Indeed, slaves used to dance and play drums for all the occasions of their lives. There was a rhythm to work, a rhythm to fight, a rhythm to worship, a rhythm to celebrate and of course a rhythm to seduce. Each step, and drum beat had a meaning, which is partially lost nowadays. Nevertheless, the spirit of fellowship still remains, making Bèlè relevant even in the 21st century.

If you are invited to a “Swaré Bèlè” (a Bèlè party) you will be able to see or join “la ronde Bèlè” (the Bèlè circle). In this circle, you have “La vwa” (the singer and the backup singers called “Le répondè”), lé tambouyé (2 drummers), “Le bwatè” (someone setting the rhythm, hitting the back of the drum with two sticks).

A basic “Bèlè ronde” is composed of 8 dancers, with 2 couples dancing simultaneously while the other couples wait their turn to join the dance. As we saw earlier, there are different dances for occasions. "... [A description of different Bèlè dances follows in that post.]

Bele Dance

Published on Mar 19, 2012 by k85d09

Choreography by Kieron Sargeant
Here's some information about the Bele dance that Kieron Sargeant sent to me on 10/7/2012

"Bele History by Emelda lynch Griffith

In the late 18th Century when the French plantation owners and their slaves came to Trinidad and Tobago, they brought with them a life style of joie de vivre to their plantations. At that time, the French held many balls at the Great Houses where they enjoyed doing many of the courtly dances of Europe including the minuet.

The house slaves, in their moments of leisure, took the dance to the field slaves and mimicked the dance of their masters. They showed off by doing ceremonious bows, making grand entrances, sweeping movements, graceful and gentle gliding steps which imitated the elegance of the French doing the minuet whilst the rhythmic quality of the drums added spicy and yet subtle sensuality to the movements.

During the passage of time, this dance has evolved to what is now called the Bele. It includes the African ritual form that places the spiritual and the secular side by side. As a result different versions of the Bele can be found wherever the French settled in the Caribbean.

Carabinee - The opening dance where host greets the gathering.

Simple Bele - Expresses the gracefulness of the dancer – usually done by La Reine – the Queen.

Grand Bele - Couples dancing (male and female) similar to a square dance"
Click to find additional videos of Bele dancing in a post on my zumalayah cultural blog.

BIGUINE (Martinique)

Micheline MONA Ft Max TELEPHE " éti Tintin" BIGUINE

Uploaded on Jun 11, 2009

Biguine musique traditionnelle de la Martinique
Here's information about the Biguine from
"Biguine is a rhythm-centric style of music that originated in Martinique in the 19th century. It fuses 19th-century French ballroom dance steps with African rhythms.[1]"

Josiane et Tirolien dansent la Biguine

JPBERGUIN, Uploaded on May 16, 2010

Au cours de l'élection de la Reine des Aînées de la Guadeloupe, JOSIANE (qui représentait La Désirade), danse la biguine avec TIROLIEN


The Roots Of The Bomba (Puerto Rico)

Uploaded by disk0ne on Jun 25, 2007
A commentater indicated that this clip was filmed in 1957.

The 18th century (if not earlier) to 19th century dance "Bambula" (Bamboula) is considered to be the predeccesor of "The Bomba".

Here's a quote from [retrieved 1/9/2011
"Drums and heartbeats"-Ella Laloba

The bamboula a dance, and music and drumming tradition, with African origins, is cousin to the "bomba,” a folkloric tradition, which still thrives in Puerto Rico. Brought to the Caribbean by enslaved Africans, the bamboula is a dramatic dance of rebellion and determination.

Versions have survived in Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Marked by swaying hips, trembling of the body and dramatic drum accents, the bamboula dance can go on for hours, with audience members joining in.

A traditional heartbeat played on the drum speeds up and inspires the dancers’ movements, which accelerate and climax in response to the drums.

Here's a comment from this video's comment thread:
"FYI In the 17th century africans were brought as slaves to puertorico to work the gold mines .This is where Bomba / Plena came into play and mixed in with the natives already on the island. Taino Indians.I am spanish I understand what she is singing it is very similar . Yes This is the roots of bomba @ 1:40 you hear that rythm you hear now in salsa especialy the rythm of the trumpets and congas we still use congas till this day in our salsa . It adds the flavor :) Love it. Our history is magnif.
-caremel4eva; 2011


Gíbaro de Puerto Rico - Seis, Bomba y Plena (Puerto Rico)

Uploaded by noelito88 on Apr 25, 2008

La Compañía Folclórica Nacional Gíbaro de Puerto Rico con 35 años de labor artística y cultural presenta los bailes autóctonos de puertorriqueños del seis, la bomba y la plena.

Bomba in Loiza, Puerto Rico #1 (Puerto Rico)

Uploaded by gyenyamesankofa on Aug 9, 2008

This is one of several videos that I will be posting from my trip to Puerto Rico in July 2008.

This clip features Bomba drummers and dancers at Raul Ayala's house in Loiza, during La Fiesta de Santiago Apostol.


C, D


The Congo

Uploaded by Lolo8220 on Feb 13, 2008

Troupe de danse folklorique performant le "congo"

Editor: No information was provided about the country these dancers come from.

Cuban traditional dance 1 (Cuba)

Uploaded by SpaceMic on Feb 11, 2007

in Havana Centro
For more videos on la conga, click this post on my zumalayah blog: "La Conga! The Cuban Origin Of The Conga Line"

CUMBIA (Colombia)

La Cumbia Colombiana - Como Bailar - Parte 1

Uploaded by AbsoluutRelatief on Mar 2, 2011
...It is mainly asserted that cumbia's basic beat evolved from Guinean cumbé music. However, this basic beat can be found in music of Yoruba (in the rhythm associated with the god Obatala), and in other musical traditions across West Africa. Cumbia started in the Caribbean coast of South America, in what is now the northern coast of Colombia...

In Panama, the processes that shaped the culture and idiosyncrasies of the Colombian Caribbean through the three aspects (Hispanic, black and Indian) from the Spanish colonial period until today, also occurred in the isthmus


Gerrehbenta Part 1 of 2 (Jamaica)

uploaded by jstuttgart on May 16, 2010

Takes its name from two of the major traditional rites practised in Jamaica. "Gerreh" in Hanover and "Dinki-Mini" which uses the musical instrument, the 'Benta', from St. Mary.

Gerrehbenta Part 2 of 2 (Jamaica)

Uploaded by jstuttgart on May 16, 2010


Takes its name from two of the major traditional rites practised in Jamaica. "Gerreh" in Hanover and "Dinki-Mini" which uses the musical instrument, the 'Benta', from St. Mary.


Here's a comment from a viewer of this video:
This is much too sanitized. Compare with real exponents of Dinky Mini. Best thing is the music, very authentic but not the dancing. In this clip, the two shirtless males probably come closest to the real thing and it is a pity that they weren't given a chance to develop their performances. There is also too much unnecessary separation of the male and female dancers. Dinky Mini is a highly sexually charged thing and this hardly comes across.
- TheLegin01 ; December 2010 ;


Here's information from about the term "dinki mini"

"Dinki Mini originates from the Congolese word `ndingi' which means lamentation or funeral song. Dinkies are celebratory occasions. Although associated with death, the music is lively, joyous and exciting, intending to cheer the family and friends of the dead person. Dinki Mini was practised openly throughout slavery but is now done mainly during Jamaica's annual Festival activities.

This dance is performed mainly in the parishes of St. Mary, St. Ann, St. Andrew and Portland and Gerreh is found in Hanover, Westmoreland and St. James.

The Dinki Mini dance focuses on the pelvic region as it is performed in defiance of the death that has occurred. The dancers, male and female, make suggestive rotations with the pelvis in an attempt to prove that they are stronger than death, as they have the means to reproduce.

Instruments associated with the Dinki Mini are shakas, katta sticks, condensed milk tins, grater, the tamboo (a cylinder l shaped drum) and the benta. The benta is an ancient stringed instrument made of bamboo and a gourd resonator.

The lyrics of the songs associated with the Gerreh are also suggestive. Gerreh has another dimension, however, called the bamboo dance. This is dancing on elevated bamboo poles and between four bamboo poles brought together and pulled back by four crouching players."

Dinky Mini Dancing (Jamaica)

Uploaded by MrWillie450 on Jan 4, 2011

Islington Dinky Group

FOLK DANCES FROM DOMINICA (The Commonwealth of Dominica)

Folk Dance from Dominica (Dominica)

Uploaded by Proteousx4 on Sep 15, 2009

Local dance from Commonwealth of Dominica

Dominican Folk Dance

Proteousx4, Uploaded on Sep 15, 2009

A local dance featuring my friend Tyla at the world creole festival in dominica


República Dominicana - Fiesta Mundial de Navarra (Dominican Republic)

Uploaded by casadelasculturas on Nov 13, 2009

E, F

G, H
Guyana Masquerade Flounce

Uploaded by raygems on Dec 7, 2008

Guyana Masqueraders FLOUNCE to the beat of masquerade drums.This dance was passed on for many generations.An oldtimer once said"The faces change,but the dance remains the same" play de musik.

Guyana, previously known as British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean.

FOLK DANCES (nation not identified)*

Folk Medley (Ring Games & Flower Festivals)

Henri-Jacques Mangal, Uploaded on Aug 13, 2008

Flower Festivals and Ring Games
A commenter to that video's viewer comment thread wrote that she or he missed St. Lucia. This may mean that these folk games (folk dances) come from St. Lucia (as well as other Caribbean nations?)


Haitian Folkloric Dancing

Uploaded by greenfamilymiami on Oct 19, 2010

A troupe of folkloric dancers from Haiti performed at the Macy's Heart of Haiti event in Miami on October 7, 2010.


Also, see Petro Dances on this page.


Heel and Toe Dance (Dominica)

Uploaded by johndell1000 on May 25, 2009

we are keeping the culture alive ....even when we live abroad.

I, J
Jamaican Folk Dances Explained (Jamaica)

Uploaded by VIBESJAMAICAJTB on Oct 21, 2009

Jamaican Early Religious and Folk dances such as ring games, maroon songs, quadrille,

Traditional Jamaican Wake (Jamaica)

Uploaded by Deryckl on Oct 1, 2009

Traditional Jamaican Wake for Trevor Rhone at Ranny WIlliams Entertainment Centre, Kingston on September 30, 2009

K, L

Grupo tradicional de Kumina

Uploaded by leovidigal67 on Dec 18, 2008

Apresentação de um grupo de kumina (religião afro-jamaicana) na University of West Indies, durante a Global Reggae Conference em Kingston, Jamaica.

Legacy - A mother and daughter re-enact the memory of the Kumina dance (Jamaica)

Uploaded by BlackmanVision on Mar 10, 2008


Another clip from that documentary can be found at

M, N

ballet ADOM Mabèlo

oiseaudesiles97280, Published on May 28, 2012
The Mabelo dance is very much like the Calenda (Kalinda) which is documented in the Caribbean and the USA from as early as the 18th century. Mabelo features a processional entry and males & females dancing in two horizontal lines. "Umbigada" *(the bellies of two dancers touching each other) is the central feature of this dance.

*"Umbigada" is the Portuguese word that is translated to English as "belly bucking".

Here's an excerpt about this dance from

"The Calinda was a dance of multitude, a sort of vehement cotillion. Men and women would dance with Lascivious Gestures, the thighs together, striking them together in a rhythm patting, and would feature pelvic thrust's and hip gyrations. They then would separate with a pirouette, only to begin advancing towards each other all over again, doing the same movements with lascivious gestures. These dancers would sometimes last for hours and upon tiring, another would take their place. Throughout the dance the dancers would lock arms and make several revolutions, slapping their thighs and "kissing each other." The Calenda had numerous attempts of mock and ridicule and had actual attempts at banning the dance from society, and finally un-successfully banning the dance in 1843, however the Calenda lasted well into the late 19th century, despite the protests.

The Cuban Rumba is said to be a descendant of the Calinda Dance."
Here's a one line description of that dance from
"Mabelo: a rather saucy dance where the dancer throw themselves at the other."
Click Martinque - Bèlè **Mabélo** for another video of this Martinique dance.

[Sorry. Embedding this video is disallowed]

For more videos of Mabelo dances, click this post on my zumalayah blog:


Cuban Mambo danced by professional dancers in Havana, Cuba

Uploaded by clizra on Aug 13, 2008


Maypole - Traditional Jamaican Dance (Jamaica)

Uploaded by gwellesley on Dec 9, 2010

This live (unedited) performance was done by the Manchoneil Cultural Group on December 4, 2010. It was done at Great Huts in Portland, Jamaica.

Maypole was one of the popular dances done on the plantations in Jamaica during the period of slavery and colonial rule.


Editor: Two versions of the song Rukumine are found on Cocojams' Caribbean Folk Song page whose link is given above.

Grenada May Pole Dance (Grenada)

marakakore, Uploaded on Jul 27, 2008

Looking these dancers from the Caribbean North Vancouver...British Columbia...I couldn't help but think of the way this dance would be done in Britain...where it originated...and was exported to British colonies of the the Caribbean. Guess I'm prejudiced given where I'm from...but today's full of rhythm...danced by people at total ease inside their now my prefered May Pole Dance.

P.S.Not to mention the overall lilt and vitality in the dancing.


Caribbean stilt dancers, Moko Jumbi (Virgin Island)

Uploaded by johninpgh on Jan 3, 2011

Caribbean stilt dancers, "Moko Jumbi" are pretend ghosts to trick and chase away bad sprits at celebrations. These were captured in the town of Frederiksted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

O, P

Palo, Yuka and Makuta danced by professional Cuban dancers, Havana Cuba 2008 (Cuba)

Palo, Yuka and Makuta danced by professional Cuban dancers, Havana Cuba 2008


Editor: Palo, Yuka, and Makuta are names of specific rhythms, and the dances that accompany them.


ceremony petro in vodou,vaudou,voudou,voodoo

Uploaded by dereale on May 31, 2010

ceremony petro in haiti

Dance of the Warrior - PETRO VOODOO DANCE, Haiti (National Film Board of Canada)

Uploaded by mallonm1952 on Aug 29, 2010

Sid' Ali, artist, guides us through this film which investigates the paradox inherent in warrior dances from around the world, the paradox that the "aggression" of these dances contributes to social and individual peace.


Pocomania Day (Jamaica)

Uploaded by dejagib on Aug 25, 2008

Students at Hague Primary in Falmouth, Trelawny, Jamaica performing traditional Jamaican dance at the schools opening ceremony

Q, R
Quadrille Dancing in Choiseul, St. Lucia (St. Lucia)

Uploaded by TameronEaton on Mar 6, 2008

This video shows traditional St. Lucia Quadrille dancing performed by the Dugard Primary students at the 2008 Choiseul Village Council swearing in ceremony. The students are wearing the St. Lucia flag colors rather than the traditional red plaid outfits known at madras.

Quadrille Dancers 14th June 2008 (Dominica)

Uploaded by UniquelyDominican on Jun 15, 2008
Dominica Oversea Nationals Association (DONA) - Quadrille Dancers
Created by Uniquely Dominican at

Quadrille Guadeloupéen. La boulangère Dansée par DYNAMIQUE CLUB (Quadeloup)

Mrclarisma, Uploaded on Sep 19, 2011
L'Association Dynamique Cub perpétue la tradition dans le domaine artistique et culturel Guadeloupéen.

Haute-Taille, quadrille de la Martinique.avi (Martinique)

tchaykorossol, Uploaded on Jan 2, 2012

"Loisirs & Traditions", association située à Schoelcher, perpétue la tradition séculaire du quadrille, appelé Haute-Taille en Martinique (8 danseurs traduisent sur scène les commandements du chef de ballet nommé Commandeur aux Antilles. En Martinique, il excelle également dans le jeu du "tanbou di bas'" : tambour de basse). "Baptisée" ainsi pour illustrer la mode vestimentaire de l'Empire (robes à la taille ceintrée sous la poitrine), cette contredanse a son Festival organisé tous les deux ans par la Ville du François, où les quadrilles sont internationalement représentés. Celui de 2011 était dédié à la Liberté et rendait hommage à Thierry DOL et à tous les otages.


Quelbe & Quadrille (Virgin Islands)

Uploaded by 1vipanman on Jul 12, 2008

St. Peter's Church July 2008 Cultural Field Day


Los Atrevidos II - Rumba Street Performance (Cuba)

Posted by omiyeyeo
December 28, 2006

"Rumba, Cuban music, kids playing and singing rumba in pogoloti. Afrocuban music, orishas"

Afro Cuban Rumba music and dance -- havana, cuba (Cuba)

Uploaded by mathmuse on Mar 25, 2009

live at the palenque -- vedado, havana, cuba

S, T

Shango Dancing, Havana, Cuba

Uploaded by eguinkolade on Jun 6, 2009

Shango culminates presentation of Afro-Cuban dance at the Casa de Africa, Old Havana, 1992. Filmed by David H. Brown. Available as part of "Orisha Dance from Cuba". See (c), LLC 2008. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Here's information from a commenter:
"The legendary Felix "Pupy" Insua dancing Shango in La Habana."
-Obbalubbe ; 2010


Son - Popular Cuban Dance - Cutumba (Cuba)

Uploaded by cubanfolkloricdance on Sep 19, 2007

Son - Performance by Ballet Folklórico Cutumba de Santiago, Cuba. More information on Cutumba at

TAMBU (Curacao)

Tambu: Banned and Illegal Music and Dance of Curacao

Published on Apr 4, 2012 by tambuofcuracao

3-minutes of edu-tainment for those who are short on time!

Tumba Francesa (Mason) Franco-Haitian-Cuban Dance - Cutumba (Haiti/Cuba)

Uploaded by cubanfolkloricdance on Sep 19, 2007

Tumba Francesa (Mason)- Performance by Ballet Folklórico Cutumba de Santiago, Cuba. More information on Cutumba at (more)

"La Tumba Francesa is a traditional cultural dance and style of that emerged in the 18th century in Oriente, Cuba. It combines music from West Africa and traditional French music. "Tumba" derives from "tambours", which is French for drums. It is one of several Haitian drumming styles that produces a very vibrant sound, often accompanied by trumpets, usually played by Cuban bands. The clothes of the dancers are colorful and flamboyant. The drums are played in both Cuba and Haiti."

La Tumba Francesa (Haiti/Cuba)

Note: This video's narrative is in Spanish.

Uploaded by unescoSpanish on Sep 29, 2009
UNESCO: Lista representativa del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la Humanidad -- 2008

U, V

W, X

Y, Z


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