bullerengue

A dance from the coastal region of Colombia, the Bullerengue is one of the dances that most strongly showcase the influence of its African-heritage, distinguished by rythmic drums, palmoteo, and cadenced vocals. Danced only by women, typically dressed in white, the essence of the dance is a ritual that celebrates the rites of passage of puberty and pregnancy. Bullerengue symbolizes female fertility and the name means pollerón or maternity skirt, where life is created.

The rhythm of the dance is defined by the drums, which remain dominant throughout the song, and the traditional bullerengue does not stray from its melody. The drums are referred to as macho and hembra—meaning masculine and feminine, which each carry the rhythm and add color to the dance respectively. The drums are accompanied by the Totuma-which is a gourd with broken ceramic pieces inside—as well as by clapping of the dancers to complete the rhythm. The origins of the dance are attributed to the Cimarron communities—communities of former African slaves that created colonies in the coastal region of Palenque de San Basilo.  The dancers enter the stage in line, with a short step and posture similar to the cumbia. The various figures the dancers create with their skirts and the formations the dancers take all symbolize an offering of fertility. 

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