We are African, Indian, Chinese and European – among other things – and we move as all the people we are. But as Jamaicans we move mostly like the Africans and Europeans. Dances that represent our connection to both nations are Dinki Mini, Brukins and Quadrille – the latter two with a more European dominated feel.
Pelvic thrusts, hip movements, bent elbows and knees – all present in this dance as well as African traditional dances. Brukins feels just like this; at least to someone of African descent.
Brukins is an interpretation of a European dance, apparently originating in Italy. But that is debatable and not what this is about. This folk dance is really a competition against families of royal descent vying for a seat on the throne. The red and blue costumes represented each family and were taken so seriously that they weren’t seen till the day of the competition. It’s mostly practised in the east but still makes itself know to the entire island. As many of our folk dances were, Brukins was an African imitation of European lifestyle.
But enough if that; let’s go to Jamaica and her movements. Dance, like fashion, is a cycle. All the moves seen in Jamaican dance, especially, can be somehow linked to a dance either straight from Africa or from a folk dance. Though not greatly practised in recent times, folk dances present our history through movement. It would seem that if history should be retained, it should be taught in dance – Brukins is one of those dances.