Folk dances from Ecuador cast their spell

New Delhi: The ethnic cultural diversity of the South American nation of Ecuador came to life in the Indian capital with a colourful showcase of music and dances based on the indigenous folklores and social mores of the country.

One of the country`s oldest folk dance theatre ensembles, Ballet Folklorico Eucatoriano De Virginia Rosero, presented a repertoire of folk acts Tuesday that captured the ethnic lifestyles and festivals of the agrarian fun-loving nation.

Formed in 1967 in Ambato province, Ballet Folklorico Eucatoriano De Virginia Rosero has performed across South America, US and Europe.

Bordered by Colombia in the north, Peru to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west, it is home to 24 provinces that make up for four different geographical terrain - the Andes, the Pacific Coast, Amazonian rainforest and the Galapagos Island. It has roughly 16 ethnic communities.

Each community has its own tradition of performing arts that is linked to its agriculture cycle and social rites, Ecuador Ambassador Carlos Abad said.

"The performing arts and cultural festivals are related to weddings, harvests. The folklores vary in highlands, rainforest and coast," Abad told IANS.

Eucadorian dances have a rich tradition because existence of human culture in the country can be traced to 3,500 BC.

The ethnic dances of the country combine African rhythms, Andean beats, jungle melodies and Latino influences that are spontaneous and sensuous. The appeal of the dances - mostly performed in groups - is heightened by their colourful attires of the dances - the gypsy pleated skirts and hand-woven scarves worn by the women and the multi-hued ponchos worn by the men.

The ballet, a medley of small acts encapsulating the simplistic peasant culture of the land, began with the harvest dance of the Cotopaxi province, an elaborate performance with ceremonial headgears and masks. It was followed by the "Laundry dance of the Cholo people", an indigenous courtship ritual, the Sala Sacas prom Sunday dance, Snake Party jungle dance, a shamanistic rite, the traditional balancing the bottle dance and the child burial dance - a funeral act.

A four-member live band comprising wooden Spanish guitars and a special flute, Rondador, accompanied the dancers.

"This is our first visit to India. We love Indian dances that we see on television," dancer Daphne Villenia, associated with the Ballet Folklorico Eucatoriano De Virginia Rosero for the last 10 years told IANS.

The ballet was presented by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Embassy of Ecuador.


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