Jamaica, Brukins has become associated with celebrations to
mark Emancipation, granted to enslaved Africans on the 1st
August 1834. The dance is a complex series of movements and
sections which is staged begins late at night. The dancers
move gradually through a community, adorned in elaborate costumes
representing the characters of the British royal court, until
morning. There are two groups involved in the Brukins “party”
one in red and the other in blue. The dancers represent Kings,
Queens, Princes, Captains, Soldiers, Trainbearers and others.
There is a contest between the groups and various movements
are employed as one side seeks to perform much more elaborate
movements or ‘out dance’ the other.
is very long and is punctuated by a series of songs and a
Tea-Time, which allows the dancers sufficient time to rest.
Usually the songs do not make much sense, but are part of
the gimmickry and revelry associated with the contest. During
the Tea-Time, ‘bidding’ takes place to raise money
for the community. Here, a member of the audience is paid
to perform and if it is deemed to be satisfactory then the
audience would have to bid for a repeat performance. There
is also bidding done for the naming of the ‘Bread’
and the Queen.
dance movements are derived from the Pavanne, a European court
dance of the 15th and 16th centuries which the Europeans adopted
from the Italians. This was taken to the Caribbean and observed
by the enslaved Africans. True to the notion of creolization,
the Africans, added a pronounced slanting of the body, instead
of the upright stance as performed by the Europeans.
Today Bruckins can only be found in Portland. The Bruckins
dance is no longer performed during Emancipation, but is a
staple at Festival competitions and at social events.
colours used are red and blue
the royal court
drum and bass drum
Bryan, Patrick, “August 1st A Celebration of Emancipation.”
United Cooperative Printers Jamaica WI, June 1995, pp. 67-76
S. Hilary, “Folk Dances of Jamaica: An Insight.”
Oxford University Press, 1988, pp. 58-60
Journal Volume 10, Number, 1, p. 8