AUTHENTIC

TRADITIONAL

CONTEMPORARY

Through the project “Tierra Espiritual” a festival of authentic dances, theatre and craft supported by the Theatre Embassy, it was possible for me to build contact with  the indigenous population of Copusquia. They live in the mountains up to 4000 m above sea level. It takes days of walking to a next village, so there is a total other perception of time and space (duration and distance).

Time is there in abundance. The only appointments they have are with nature: she determines what they eat and how much, when they get up and go to sleep.

By living with nature, the people here have different priorities and other things to care of. Because they have little property, they share everything and care for each other. The hard existence in the outer region of Copusquia characterizes the manner of dancing of the Indigenous. The dances are only carried out with a ritual and special festivities. So showing a dance and practicing it, for them is strange. Their dances are minimal, in which the feet lead. In some dances theatre is involved telling the story of (holy) animals. Men generally play the instruments and women sing, both of them dancing. The rhythm is not predictable as it follows the melody line, which one has to know in order to capture the rhythms. Melodies could sound wrong for western ears. Though music and dances are adapted to their natural surroundings in which animals, earth, plants and weather inspires the people to create new songs, dances, costumes and theatre. Learning the values of their society and how the dance is interwoven in their culture is for me an intense experience process and has moved me deeply. They have a great sense of humor and are warm sharing, humble and intelligent.

Same as I experienced the village people of Assam, India ...

Characteristic for all Bolivian dances (with as exception the Cueca), is that they move forward and require a good condition. Bolivians are used to dance hours in one and the same rhythm. Some festivities even continue for more days which are often carried out in the form of parades like the Carnival of Oruro with costumes and masks. It links solidarity, social cohesion and structure, ritual, gratitude, belief, creation, music, handcraft and dancing together. In the first place the symbolic contents of a festival are related to the cycle of agriculture, afterwards the catholic religion was incorporated and after the establishment of the Bolivian republic also the political character was added. An example for the more ceremonial ritual is the Carnival; for the religious - “El gran poder”; for the civil - “La Entrada Folkorica Universitaria” and “20 de octubre”. The difference between the authentic and the traditional dances is recognizable by the influence of the urbanization.

What inspires me is how in Bolivia ritual, religion and even politics become connected through dance. Bolivians celebrate each change by moving themselves and express their actual live. Traditional dances and music are commonly and much practiced in Bolivia. Professional groups such as the “Ballet Folklorico de Sucre” have great success and all have their own style. As a result, regularly disputes arising concerning further development of the dances by dancers and public.

About stylization and influences of the classical ballet. Which is interesting since the Ballet eventually also developed out of western folk dances. I realized how much the dances are a reflection of Bolivian history while learning them. What a source of knowledge has the dance in itself concerning the developments of centuries to now. It was as if a piece of history passed through my body and there is still to learn more! La Saya, el Tinku, la Morenada, el Pujllay, la Diablada, la Kullawada, el Suri Sicuri, las Tobas, la Llamerada, la Chacarera, la Waca Waca, el Auqui Auqui, el Taquirari …


In my solo “Undetermined Space”, I play with the rhythm of “la Saya”. Its origins lay within the fusion, of the African slaves and the authentic population of Bolivia. They used these rhythms to re-find the contact with their ancestors, to feel a connection with their birth ground, with their own identity. The connection between two worlds reveals, in which identity dissolves into ...

In Bolivia, dancers of divergent disciplines meet; Ballet, Break dance, Graham, Tango and Traditional trained dancers. However all of them are familiar with the traditional dances. They are interwoven in their education within their families and at school. Generally the dancers work besides rehearsing. Dance seems to have another need in Bolivia for most of the population it is not an art form, but part of everyone’s life. With that in mind dance becomes a mirror, synchronously to the everyday existence. In the larger cities, especially the professional dance experiences a Renaissance. Bolivian dancers and choreographers are busy with examining the traditional dances and what they mean for the people especially in political and in social sense. The art in theaters is frequently used as a

communication concerning what there is going on socially and politically in society. Politics in Bolivia have moved a lot, so divers artists reflect on what is going on.

And as a result creations are very recognizable for a large public. This is of great relevance where the artists can contribute to the development of the society they live in.