Folkloric Dancing PDF Print E-mail
Guanacaste is the heartland of Costa Rican folkloric music and dancing. Here, even such pre-Columbian instruments as the chirimia (oboe) and quijongo (a single-string bow with gourd resonator) popularized by the Chorotega Indians are still used as backing for traditional Chorotega dances such as the Danza del Sol and Danza de la Luna. The more familiar Cambute and Botijuela Tamborito - blurring flurries of voluminous frilly lace skirts accompanied by tossing of scarves, a fanning of hats, and loud lusty yelps from the men - are usually performed on behalf of tourists rather than at native turnos (fiestas).

Costa Rica Folkloric Dancing
Costa Rica Folkloric Dancing
A number of folkloric dance troupes tour the country, while others perform year round at such venues as the Melico Salazar Theater, the Aduana Theater, and the National Dance Workshop headquarters in San Jose. Of particular note is Fantasi�a Folklorica, a colorful highlight of the country's folklore and history from pre Columbian to modern times.

Vestiges of the half-dead Indian folk dancing linger by a hair's breadth elsewhere in the nation. The Borucas still perform their Danza de los Diablitos, and the Talamancas their Danza de los Huelos. But the drums and flutes, including the curious drumugata, an ocarina (a small potato shaped instrument with a mouthpiece and finger holes which yields soft, sonorous notes) made of beeswax, are being replaced by guitars and accordions. Even the solemn Indian music is basically Spanish in origin and hints at the typically slow and languid Spanish cancion (song) which gives full rein to the romantic, sentimental aspect of the Latin character.

Ticos love to dance. By night San Jose gets into its stride with discos hotter than the tropical night. On weekends rural folks flock to small-town dance halls, and the Ticos' celebrated reserve gives way to outrageously flirtatious dancing befitting a land of passionate men and women. Says National Geographic: "To watch the vicelike clutching of Ticos and Ticas dancing, whether at a San Jose discotheque or a crossroads cantina, is to marvel that the birth rate in this predominantly Roman Catholic nation is among Central America's lowest." Outside the dance hall, the young prefer to listen to Anglo American rock, like their counterparts the world over. When it comes to dancing, however, they prefer the hypnotic Latin and rhythmic Caribbean beat and bewildering cadences of cumbia, lambada, marcado, merengue, salsa, soca, and the Costa Rican swing, danced with sure-footed erotic grace.

Many dances and much of the music of Costa Rica reflect African, even pre-Columbian, as well as Spanish roots. The country is one of the southernmost of the "marimba culture" countries, although the African-derived marimba (xylophone) music of Costa Rica is more elusive and restrained than the vigorous native music of Panama and Guatemala, its heartland. The guitar, too, is a popular instrument, especially as an accompaniment to folk dances such as the Punto Guanacaste, a heel and toe stomping dance for couples, officially decreed the national dance. (The dance actually only dates back to the turn of the century, when it was composed in jail by Leandro Cabalceta Brau).

Costa Rica has a strong peua tradition, introduced by Chilean and Argentinian exiles. Literally, "circle of friends," peas are bohemian, international gatherings - usually in favored cafes - where moving songs are shared, and the wine and tears flow.

On the Caribbean coast music is profoundly Afro Caribbean in spirit and rhythm, with plentiful drums and banjos, a local rhythm called sinkit, and the cuadrille, a maypole dance in which each dancer holds one of many ribbons tied to the top of a pole: as they dance they braid their brightly colored ribbons. The Caribbean, though, is really the domain of calypso and reggae, whose seductive tempo lures you to dance, reducing life to a simple, joyful response to the most irresistible beat in the world.
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3.26 Copyright (C) 2008 / Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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