Dances, Parades and Demonstrations in Bolivia (i)

Video Clips from El Alto, Rebel City

The Dance

The Kullawada in the Rosas Pampa Entrada of September 2000, at the palco. I and my partner are dancing in the front as the mascots: the Awila and Waphuri.

The same Kullawada in the Diana the following day; some of the dancers are a bit the worse for wear after a day, night and morning of drinking. At the end of the clip you can see the two couples who were pasantes.

A full Morenada comparsa from the Gran Poder fiesta 2003. Note: this is a large file. It took over half an hour for the complete group to pass the palco, and I include the full clip here to give an impression of the grandeur of the biggest comparsas. Note the elaborate costumes and the two large bands. This particular one comprises dancers from the Eloy Salmón street market in La Paz. They are usually thought to be very wealthy, as they sell large electrical goods.

An extract from the Eloy Salmón comparsa, showing the women Morenada dancers. You can see how even though this group had two very large bands, many of the dancers could not hear the music.

An extract from the Eloy Salmón comparsa, showing one of the bands. Morenada bands are very expensive, and are expert performers.

An extract from the Eloy Salmón comparsa, showing a group of male ‘Moreno’ dancers and the band following them.

A rather more modest Morenada comparsa, from the pueblo of Quilloma in 2003. The dancers are migrants from Quilloma who now live in a number of zones in El Alto, and who return nearly every year to dance in their pueblo’s fiesta. I participated as a dancer in 2000.

comparsa of students dancing in the Entrada Universitaria of 2003. T he students tend to dance more energetic dances than the Morenada in their Entrada. This particular dance is called Tobas, and is a figurative representation of indigenous groups from the Chaco region of Bolivia.

See Bolivianísima for clips and descriptions of dances.

The Demonstration

A demonstration by students from the Universidad Pública de El Alto in August 2003, demanding autonomy for the University. I include it and the following extracts here to indicate the similarities in physical form between fiesta dances, demonstrations and civic parades.

The Parade

A civic parade of schoolchildren in El Alto to celebrate Independence Day on 6th August 2003. Schools often begin their parades with the youngest children dressed as soldiers and nurses, or heroes of the struggle for independence from Spain. In this clip you can also see students dressed in the costume of different departments of Bolivia.

Adults parading for Independence Day in 2003. These two extracts show the continuities between children and adults’ participation in civic parades. For example, the adults here are divided into gender specific groups, and identify the collectivities they represent by means of standards and banners at the beginning of the group.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: