Traditional Folk Forms

The Traditional Folk Forms Competition has effectively recaptured our cultural past as well as setting new directions in cultural growth. It has heighten our regards for the indigenous activities recovering our ancient dances such as the Kumina, Gerreh, Dinki Mini, Revival, Bruckin’s Party, Tambu and Jonkunnu. Thus, it allows us to rediscover the importance of our rich intangible heritage and historically defined personality of Jamaicans.

The Traditional Folk Forms Competition in the Festival of the Performing Arts continues to grow from strength to strength, not only in the number of entries, but also in the quality and high standard of presentations. The success is due to the contribution made by the teachers, trainers and volunteerism by the exponents of these adult Traditional Folk groups, who continue to impart their knowledge and expertise of our rituals to the younger generation at the J.C.D.C’s Workshops held island wide for teachers/leaders and students.
These dances are now being performed by school groups within the age range of 6 to 18 years with great aplomb and dexterity, playing traditional instruments as they sing and perform dances of our African heritage. The category for Integrated Song & Dance based on any of the above or combined is also very popular and continues to grow and develop. However, the European side of our heritage is not neglected as the Camp style, Contra and Ballroom Quadrilles are still very popular having the largest amount of entries overall along with the Maypole and Ring Games which are holding their own both in quantity and quality of performances.


Areas covered in the Competition are:

  • Quadrille-( Ballroom, Camp and Contra Styles)
  • Ring Forms (Ring Games children to 14& Ring Play From 15 to adulthood)
  • Maypole
  • Kumina/Congo
  • Revival
  • Wake/Set Up
  • Gerreh
  • Dinki-Mini
  • Zella
  • Tambu
  • Jonkunnu or John Canoe
  • Burru Song and Dance
  • Ettu
  • Bruckin’s Party
  • Integrated Song and Dance
  • Maroon Dance
  • Mento

Two separate Competitions in Traditional Folk Forms are the Children’s Jonkunnu Costume Parade and the Mento Band Competitions. Both events are normally staged in December.
The various categories in Traditional Folk Forms are representative of the predominance of the African heritage in the formation of our national cultural expressions. It is through the tremendous efforts of the Commission in the staging of festival events, research and documentation of Traditional Folk Forms, and the facilitation of workshops that have enabled the survival of so many in their authentic forms.