Photographer: Mariano Hernandez
In the early nineteenth century, the sugar industry, the foundation of the Dominican economy at the time, required additional labor and therefore resorted to the English Caribbean islands. Contingents of workers arrived from those islands to work in the sugar mills of San Pedro de Macoris in the East region of the country and these people were contemptuously called “Cocolos” who brought with them their beliefs, culture and folklore.
The cultural impact was extraordinary with rhythms, musical instruments and new dances, especially street dancing as it developed a popular theater dancing recognized as Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO in 2005.
With those costumes they introduced the music of the “Cocolos” from San Pedro de Macoris, rhythms of African heritage, and they added particular choreographies of young creators that were named “Ali-Baba”. Nowadays that mix is the most important music and dance of the Dominican carnival.