Arts & Entertainment

Dancers unite in La Paz to claim the origin of the caporal

La Paz, Sep 19 (EFE).- After a year’s hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of Bolivian dancers once again put on their colorful costumes on Sunday to dance the caporal in order to claim its Bolivian origin.

The “caporalazo” was promoted by the Mayor’s Office of La Paz and took place in the Plaza de San Francisco with live music and more than 500 dancers.

“It is very important that the youth have taken over this dance – we must promote this. This dance is joyful and full of energy,” Rodney Miranda, municipal secretary for culture of the Mayor’s Office, told Efe.

The purpose of this activity was to validate the origin of the dance as “100 percent Bolivian,” said Miranda.

In May, the formation of a committee to safeguard dances such as the caporal and the morenada was announced in the face of an incident with Peru which declared the latter as Cultural Heritage of Puno in the country.

On Sunday, dancers both young and old participated, as well as bands and musical ensembles.

“They say we are the dinosaurs of the caporal because we are the oldest. We are about 70 years old and we have danced since we were 18,” Félix Zamorano Escalier told Efe.

The hundreds of participants wore colorful costumes with embroidered sequins and small cockades in the colors of the Bolivian flag.

Most wore transparent face shields to participate in this event, which also gathered a crowd of spectators.

Miranda said that some of the biosecurity measures that were taken included the mandatory use of masks or face shields and that all dancers must have shown they had been vaccinated.

The mostly young participants were excited to dance again after a year of hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I feel nostalgia. All this time of pandemic of not being able to show our steps or joy to different crowds. Today is a very important day for us because after much time we meet again,” said Silvia Cantuta, one of the dancers.

She added that the event was made more special with the objective of vindicating the culture and showing that the caporal is Bolivian.

“For me it is a privilege to show the whole world, to show how the caporal is danced and to carry the name of my culture high because the caporales are from Bolivia,” she said.

Miranda pointed out that the caporalazo was part of the safeguarding activities of the different dances of La Paz and that there will also be meetings of historians, researchers and an inventory of the dances to disseminate them.

The origins of this dance are attributed to the Estrada-Pacheco family of La Paz, who were inspired in the Afro-Bolivian Saya character of the caporal.

The saya is a rhythm from the La Paz region of the Yungas, which has significant numbers of Afro-Bolivian populations.

The caporal in particular is characterized by jumps, spins, heel stomping and showy synchronized choreographies.


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