fiestas

My experience performing typical dances

Bailando una danza típica en la Plaza de Armas del Cusco (Walter Coraza Morveli)

I still remember the first year of classes at the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega school. As is customary the school does a pasacalle, a parade, from the school’s main door to the main square of the city of Cusco. We made a snake of different dances from the smallest to those who are in their last year.

For eleven years in school, I performed the pasacalle and every year I was part of different dances. This custom continues when you are in the university, an institute, or finally at work. It makes you want to keep dancing.

Everything starts about a month before the presentations. One of the dilemmas is to choose a dance that meets all expectations. Then, you hire a dance instructor so he can teach us the steps.

All the dances begin with the limp or marking step, which leaves us very exhausted the first few days. Our feet hurt. The remedy that is most used is to use rubs that are made of grass and the fat of some animals. You also wash with warm water and salt or with urine to relieve the pain.

After learning the marquee, as that first step is called, you begin with the other steps.  Depending on the dance there are between 3 to 5 steps at most. Once students have this down, it is time to set up a choreography to impress the public and the jurors.  This moment takes much longer.

When we are talking about higher education institutions, the rehearsals are carried out from 7:00 pm until 10:00 pm or some until midnight. But a week before the parade, the pasacalle, many of the groups go to the main square of Cusco at night to become acquainted with the route the route of the pasacalle and try choreography after choreography in order to get accustomed to different scenarios. Many of groups will still be rehearsing when dawn arrives.

Then comes the day of the performance. The dance instructor arrives with the costumes and gives them out, along with indications of personal clothing. He helps the dancers put on the suit and make it work in the best way. The last indication he gives is that if at some point in the presentation a garment is dropped do not pick it up and keep dancing.

Finally, after an encouraging speech, with all the dancers including the instructor and the musicians, they start the dance. After the presentation, we all ended up sweating and exhausted but with a satisfaction of having given everything in front of the jury and the audience.

Thus ends my experience as a dancer of typical dances and this year I will also be in the pasacalle of typical dan

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