Danza – Puerto Rico’s National Music

Danza is considered Puerto Rico’s national music. Today it is  a music that serves to remember tradition, the Spanish heritage and a certain degree of elegance and manners that we believed were common during a more genteel 19th century. Behavioral patterns that we consider different from the ones we have today. However, the readings by Peñaranda and by Díaz Díaz and Manuel present us with a very different picture. In its beginnings this dance was considered obscene, immoral and subversive. In fact, it so offended the morality of the time that its playing and dancing were banned and subjected to harsh punishments and fines by Spanish authorities of the time. The danza today is not commonly danced or performed. In fact the only time one encounters it (aside from hearing Puerto Rico’s national anthem) is at folkloric representations of Puerto Rican traditions. The two videos here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHPfzMwqOMk and https://youtu.be/1Zj3dnph550) are examples of it. After watching them one wonders “what’s obscene or immoral about this dance?” In a 400-word essay explore the possible reasons for the discrepancy between the written descriptions of the danza and the contemporary representations of them. Use your sociological and historical imaginations to explore the reasons for the discrepancy.

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