Arts & Entertainment

Dance extravaganza to celebrate Peru’s regional identities

By Paula Bayarte

Lima, Jul 13 (EFE).- Peru’s cultural variety will be on display later this month at this capital’s Grand National Theater, which will mark the 202nd anniversary of the Andean nation’s independence with a dance and music extravaganza.

“We want citizens to connect with their roots and their identity,” Culture Ministry official Italo Ilizarbe said after a rehearsal by the National Folkloric Ballet to which Efe had access.

The spectacle, titled “Retablo de Fiestas Patrias,” will showcase dances from Amazon, coastal and highland regions of Peru to commemorate the origins of the republic and pay tribute to Peruvian values.

Some dances feature leaping and tapping, while others incorporate the sounds of Amazon animals, satirize Spanish rhythms or pay homage to divinities of the Andean cosmovision.

Ilizarbe said the initial theme of the performance is the construction of the Peruvian nation and the search for a social contract.

A more emotive section then ensues in which dance takes center stage and the values of the Andean nation’s inhabitants are explored via that art form.

“Peruvian dances are characterized by the incorporation of religious aspects and agricultural elements,” Ilizarbe said.

“There are lots of people from the regions who have migrated here to Lima,” dancer Angel Ricardo Nuñez told Efe. “And in this season of national holidays … the show looks back at what they experienced, where they came from.”

“They feel nostalgia, they go away happy. It makes them remember, and at the same time they can learn about (Peru’s) great diversity,” he added.

For example, the marinera partner dance that Nuñez performs has its origins in Spanish rhythms that Afro-Peruvians imitated and adapted, while also incorporating elements of indigenous dance.


This journey through memory and Peruvian geography is possible thanks to the passion and effort of more than 40 dancers.

Two of them, Claudia Ortega and Nuñez, have been part of the cast of the National Folkloric Ballet since its founding nearly 15 years ago.

“The country’s regional dances are completely different from one another and require different techniques, so we work every day on each one. It’s a tough job,” Ortega said.

Nuñez said the performers not only learn choreographies, but also do research on the dances’ origins and different interpretations, since each one stems from a different tradition and communicates different feelings.

For example, the shapish is a warrior dance in which the performers wear peacock feathers on their heads, masks depicting the Spanish upon their arrival in Peru and shiny black shoes.

The dance commemorates the trials and tribulations of a native population in the central Peruvian province of Huancayo.

According to Ilizarbe, “appreciating this spectacle (is a way for) Peruvian people who don’t normally think much about folklore to become interested in Peruvian dances and music.”

People can later “make trips to the country’s interior, see infrastructure or archaeological sites, go to carnivals, religious festivals in the regions. All this is what we try to promote,” he said.

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