Tumba Francesa

Migrations resulting from the Haitian Revolution altered the cultural landscape of the Caribbean (this includes New Orleans). By the end of the first decade of the nineteenth century, one of every four people in Santiago de Cuba had come from what is now Haiti. The Haitian French established coffee plantations in the hills and mountains of Santiago, a crop new to Cuba. The French brought a repertorie of ballroom dances known as contredanses in French, (eventually contradanza in Cuba)
including quadrilles, the minuet, and cotillion. The musicians playing for the French contradanses were black and remade the French dance and music into their own tumba francesas. Black franceses from Saint-Domingue began to form their own cabildos, which became known as tumba francesa societies. Tumba Francesa fused elite French court dances with African drum traditions. Dance can function as a kind of “embodied History”, enriching and extending our understanding and identity.