Discover the Roots of Our Beautiful Cultural Dances and Traditions
The Art of Mocko Jumbie Stilt Dancing
Mocko Jumbie dancing (or stilt dancing) is thought to have originated in West Africa. The art was brought to several Caribbean islands over 200 years ago and remains a traditional symbol of cultural celebrations and heritage.
There are a few variations of what the term "Mocko Jumbie" means. Mocko meaning 'healer' or Mocko meaning 'to mock.' The word Jumbie is most widely used as slang for 'spirit' or 'ghost.' There are also variations of the spelling "Mocko or Moko" and "Jumbie" or "Jumbi."
Depending on what country in Africa or the Caribbean you identify with, it often dictates which meaning or spelling of the word is most widely used.
Mocko Jumbie Dancing Came to the Caribbean Islands Over 200 Years Ago
Mocko Jumbies were traditionally male, but the art of stilt dancing has become popular among women and children as well. Throughout the years, there have been significant changes in the costumes and makeup of a Mocko Jumbie. Traditionally, African-inspired costumes and masks were used to conceal the identity of the Mocko Jumbie.
The costumes of a Mocko Jumbie today tend to be more elaborate, containing bright colors, sequins, and various printed fabrics to beautify and add excitement to the high stepper. Also, headpieces and theatrical makeup are often worn along with or in place of a mask.
Mocko Jumbie stilt dancing is one of the most exciting displays of African-Caribbean culture and has become a true symbol of this culture in many parts of the world.