Perspectives on Garífuna Punta Dance

With its electrifying pounding of the drums and shaking of the hips, punta is perhaps the most popular Garífuna dance today. 'Punta rock' musicians have tuned their electric guitars to traditional punta music and brought to life dance clubs in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities. Punta, however, was traditionally a ritual dance peformed at first- and ninth-night wake ceremonies. It is a legacy of the Yoruba tribes of West Africa.

Punta has not been formally studied by anthropologists
. Therefore, opinions vary widely about the meaning of this cultural tradition. Some Garífuna see punta as a sacred means of communication with their ancestors. Others argue it is a popular dance to bid farewell to a loved one that has left this world. While still others call punta a fertility dance.

Draw your own conclusion about what punta dance means! Read the different opinions held by our Gar
ífuna cultural experts (right).

 

 
 
Popo (left), Garífuna Dance Troupe Director. Wendy, Staff Writer, Honduras this Week (not pictured).
Adebisi, Garífuna sociologist (not pictured).

Andony, Cultural Anthropologist (not pictured).


Note: a small-scale anthropological survey of punta dance was administered to Garífuna cultural anthropologists, sociologists, and punta dancers in California and New York. This study was developed by Master's student in Latin American Studies, Kristina Stevens under the direction of Susan Cashion, Chair of the Stanford Division of Dance. Adebisi and Andony's writings are a response to this fall '99 survey.
Related Links:

Garífuna World:
Garífuna World Music Shop (to buy punta music online).
Music Information Center (links to punta musicians).
Outta griga dang (Punta goes global), Barbara Noralez.

Honduras this Week (scroll down):
Popular punta music readily available at record shops
Punta's names show different origins