Here we have Boni and Nasra Jusha showing us how kompa/gouyad dancing is done. Kompa (or konpa or compas) dancing originated in Haiti in the 1950s to be danced to compas music and is a meringue style of dance. The original dance was a two-step couples’ dance and, as with other dance styles that have originated in that region, the main movements are made in the hips.

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Konpa music and dance has a rich cultural heritage in Haiti and is a real mix of European and African influences. The music is traditionally a fusion of zouk, rock, salsa, reggae, and a variety of Caribbean music, and the dance really does reflect this.

Since the 1950s, konpa dancing has been modernized by a new wave of younger dancers who mix konpa music with other styles, such as zouk, kizomba, and R&B. This has spawned new konpa dance styles such as urban konpa and gouyad, which you can see demonstrated in the video with Boni and Nasra. Gouyad is a specific dance move, and the word “gouyad” means to whine. The move involves the two people in the couple being joined at the hips and the forehead and whining their hips in two different circular motions – a figure 8 and a full circle.

Because of how intimate and sensual konpa dancing can be, it has been dismissed in the past as being too “sexy” or “immoral”, so it did fall out of favor. But now, with the new wave of konpa dancers mixing the style up and fusing it with other popular dance styles, and with organizations such as the Konpa on the Rise (KOPR) project actively educating people about what konpa is and its history, konpa is gaining in popularity again. And, as you can see in this video, that can only be a good thing!

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