In the Batey or Sobera'o (circle or dance area), the Primo or Uploader Barrel will score sounds the steps that the dancer makes, and the other Barrel is called Buleador or Follower, who follows the rhythm that is constantly playing without stopping until the “Cantador/a” (singer) says so.
The dancer enters the Batey to stroll around, showing off, mark their territory and space.
Then, greets the Primo Barrel and begins its “Piquetes” (improvised Bomba steps).
The dancer, with his/her “Piquetes” would be creating his/her own music and history, inspired by the song. Also, the dancer challenges the Primo Barrel Player (“Tocador/a”) by doing a rhythmic dialogue and making it difficult to follow him/her.
Finally, when the dancer finishes providing the “Piquetes”, bows again to the Primo Barrel and the next dancer do exactly the same protocol.
The “Piquetes” must have "elegance, firmness and shape." The "figures" are the “Piquetes” that must be executed with "elegance" and "firmness". During the dance, sometimes the audience shouts "Speak!". This is because the dancer is having a musical conversation or communication with the Bomba Drum (Primo) through his/her “Piquetes”. Traditionally, “Bailadores” (male dancers) perform their “Piquetes” with their body and the “Bailadoras” (female dancers) perform with the body and / or skirt with the petticoat.
The Bomba traditional dress for men is white hat, white shirt and black or white pants. The women used to wear turbans, white shirt and skirt with petticoat. Petticoats were handmade to show them off in a flirtatious way for men and to create envy among other female dancers. How to hold and use skirt in the Bomba dancing is unique. This is because the dancer is having a musical conversation or communication with Dresser through their pickets.
Sandra Santiago, talks about the dance.
Maguida aka Marie Rivera
Art Review PR
Luquillo, Puerto Rico
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