La Paz, Oct 2 (EFE).- Some 250 dancers on Sunday commemorated the National Day of the Cueca, the dance that represents a man courting a woman and that is practiced in several Bolivian regions.
Fourteen dance teams and folk dance schools participated in the Cueca “Pañuelo Blanco” Encounter, held in the Plaza Mayor de San Francisco in the historic center of La Paz.
One by one, the teams showed their choreographies – the elegance of the La Paz and Chuquisaca cuecas, the cadence of the Cochabambina, and the joy and strength of the Tarijeña and Chaqueña cuecas, among other interpretations from the various regions.
Th women’s outfits included skirts, hats, shawls and blouses, although the materials and sizes of the skirts vary according to the region – longer and warmer in the Andean zone and shorter and lighter in the valleys – with boots and closed shoes or sandals.
In the cueca of La Paz, for example, the dancers are the cholas with their traditional skirts, bowler hats, blouses, shawls, boots and their hair tied in two long braids, while the men wear the usual pants, vests and black hats with white shirts.
The dancers showed their talent to dozens of people who lined up around the square, attracted by the colors and the music.
The cueca is a performance for couples in which the dancers carry a white handkerchief in their right hand and alternate circular movements with flourishes and a tap dance at the end.
This dance represents “a love relationship,” a kind of “conquest of a couple,” sociologist David Mendoza told EFE.
“This dance process emerged in the 19th century, not only in Bolivia,” but also in neighboring countries such as Peru, where it was called zamacueca and is currently known as marinera, “and also in Chile, where it was called cueca and today it is called the chilenita” he said.
In Bolivia, the dance kept the name of cueca and is currently an expression of the country’s cultural diversity, since each region “has its own characteristics,” Mendoza added.
He also highlighted the Bolivian composers and musicians “who have promoted the choreographic structure of the cueca” in the country.
A law enacted in 2015 established that the National Day of the Bolivian Cueca be celebrated in the country on the first Sunday of October, a dance that has also been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage, recalled the mayor’s office of La Paz. EFE