Sunday, October 18, 2009

Folkloric Dance

Beautiful Morning Pichincha

A Few Hours Later

I mixed up theatres, and we found ourselves watching a middle school play about a cow who could not stop dancing at the Teatro Sucre, instead of a contemporary dance performance at the Teatro Mexico. Maya enjoyed herself, and the children enjoyed themselves. We walked to the Plaza Grande through the Archbishop's Palace, and heard some very intense and energetic Andean music. One musician had the smallest little guitar I had seen and another had a flute that was larger than his body. Several musicians had recorders, or perhaps flutes, I am not sure, and they were able to create wonderful sounds that were surprising from such simple instruments. The tempo was much quicker than I am accustomed to, almost rollicking.

Bolivian Dancers

There were men and women in bright costumes in the background, so when the musicians were done, the dancers emerged. The initial dance was Bolivian, with what appeared to be men with conquistador's hats which they would wear for part of the dance, and then remove to reveal their native hats. I thought I had once seen a similar dance in Peru, where the invaders were made fun of and the natives prevailed. The costumes were very colourful and the dancers rambunctious, in contrast to the very subdued and controlled dance of Otovaleno costumed dancers. The music of the latter dance was also restrained and the movements compact. On retrospect, the dancers looked less mestizo and more indigenous. The last dance we saw was an Incan dance, which is typical in northern Peru and southern Ecuador, called 'Inti Raymi', with men wearing fur pants and colourful cloth masks and the women brightly attired, their dance full of twirls and their skirts billowing out dramatically.

Otavalenos Dancing

The announcer kept repeating that dance and music are ways of preserving the culture, and that the dancers and musicians are ambassadors for the history and traditions of these ancient cultures. I was entranced, and eager to see more. There is a dance performance every Wednesday night at the Casa de la Cultura, which several students have told me about, and I hope to see it this week.

Inti Raimi Dancers

We walked around the Plaza Grande and watched a fire eater and sword swallower entertain before the skies opened up in a deluge. We ran for cover and waited hoping the rain would stop, but there was thunder and lightening and hail and buckets of water falling from the sky. Winter is definitely here. We had originally planned to drive up to Guagua Pichincha today, and the sky looked fine at 8 AM, but as the morning progressed, the clouds began to congregate over Pichincha, and it became clear that nothing would be visible from the top of the mountain, so we shelved that idea for now. Apparently winter is not the time to visit the mountain. It is possible to drive almost all the way up with a four wheel drive and from the top there is an incredible view for miles and miles in each direction. I think we will have to wait until the skies clear, and that may not be for months.

The rain would not stop, and we had a date with Isabel and her family to meet for lunch at 'Crepes and Waffles' at Quicentro, so we had no choice but to buy some cheap umbrellas and race through the flooded streets of the centro. We were soaked! When we arrived at the bottom of the hill, we hailed a taxi driver who did not want to drive north, but he changed his mind and we jumped in. Most people were crowding under roofs and any kind of shelter waiting for the rain to stop. It lightened up as we drove north and was almost gone by the time we got close to home. What a deluge. We must leave the house always prepared for a storm. The sky changes from moment to moment. It may look beautiful one moment, cloudy and rainy the next and full of sunshine shortly thereafter.

Evening Pichincha


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