Gala Talentos Group – Colombia
I generally travel to or through Colombia by plane, car, bus, bike, or even on my hiking feet, but this is the first time ever that I travelled through dance!!!!! What a blessing is to be able to collectively do all the things I love, travelling, Colombia and Dance!
Let’s join me in this article that I have written with all my heart with the help of Fredy Martinez initial notes, and other exploration sources and inspired by the passion displayed by my fellow dancers’ teammates at Talentos Group. Read on I learn about Colombia, let’s feel its rhythm.!
We are Talentos, a group of Colombians who are passionate about promoting Latin American culture to the diverse communities in the United Kingdom and Europe. We do this through artistic expressions that include dance, theatre, and various musical displays. Recently it was in the vibrant and hectic city of London, the showcasing city for the first edition of the Talentos Grand Gala. A show shaped by Fredy Martinez, and performed and made possible thanks to the collaboration of his team of artists.
Colombia Folklore involves quite a lot, it would be difficult to express it all in one sentence because covers many. Our folklore is our own body language, our Colombian values and customs, expressed by various oral traditions, such as storytelling, myths & legends, couplets, sayings and jokes. It also encompasses material customs, ranging from traditional styles to handmade instruments. Folklore also embraces rituals and celebrations such as music festivals, beauty Contests, dance contest, Christmas and other events. In Colombia, we have a myriad of cultural manifestations that express our ethnicity, our religion, and our ways of life, as well as our natural wealth, diversity of microclimates, topographies and our stunning sceneries.
Grand Gala Talentos 2019, wanted precisely put all these elements together, and blended all in a form an artistic dancing journey best described as a cultural map of Colombia.
The event took place on the 14th December at the Bolivar Hall, a venue with a capacity of 140 people. The colourful event, which had completely full attendance, brought 22 folklore dances from all the regions of Colombia, a show where 20 avid dancers gave their whole heart and passion to present these colourful choreographies.
Fredy Martinez, director of the group, designed this show from his bright imagination, where he tied up each dance with a theatrical representation, colloquially displaying the daily life of the people in these regions. Fredy and his crew of dancers were delighted to share their work with the community, and in this special evening event, they successfully spread joy with this good-humoured show at this time of cold Christmas.
Fredy inspiring introduction: “Colombia is a land where butterflies and flowers can draw landscapes full of colour over the mountains. Colombia is the land where you can find the friendliest and helpful people on earth, who will make you feel part of their family. Colombia is a land where every single city and town has a traditional dance or music festival any time in the year. And of course, it is also the land where you can taste the best coffee in the world.”
DANCING JOURNEY THROUGH COLOMBIA
In the middle of the Andes mountain range to the south of Colombia, there is a paradise full of contrast, where past and present play together in harmony. The colour blends in the midst of traditions that become part of its culture. Everyone who passes by takes away its own story. A city, that despite the time, it has not lost its soul. The humbleness of its people, it will certainly transform its visitors. San Juan de Pasto…
The opening dance, the Miranchurito and Guaneña melodies. Both musical rhythms represent the cultural strength of the South West of Colombia, in the Department of Nariño, a region that borders the Pacific Ocean and Ecuador. These two pieces of music are considered as early forms of Bambuco.
Throughout history, they have resonated as an anthem in past battles. Nowadays, these rhythms are chanted and danced with great emotion and sense of social belonging, such as in national and religious holidays and festivals such as black and white.
Cundinamarca & Boyacá:
The history of this region derives from the Muisca indigenous, its name means, the “condor’s nest”, the land of condors!, that is the region where I was born.:)
Pasillo: This dance appeared in the central Andes Mountains as a symbol of freedom and display of joy during the times of independence. At the beginning of the 19th century, it existed as an adaptation of the Austrian waltz and other European dances. Over the years it became a musical symbol in Colombia as a result of the Hispanic American miscegenation – Mestizaje – when the new upper-middle-class society pursued a type of dance more in keeping up with a more aristocratic scene, transforming into a local mix with native instruments such as the tiple-bandola and the guitar. It is the encounter between two rhythms and dances of very opposite origin: the Torbellino of our natives and the European waltz.
In essence, in Colombia, there are two distinctive types of Pasillo (although various adaptions exist in other parts of the country)
Pasillo Instrumental: which is more characteristic of romantic love songs, nostalgic and pilgrimage gatherings. Represented tonight with the melody Pasillo de Cundinamarca.
Torbellino, traditional for folk dance in Boyacá, is a type of music with a popular character, it is used in complement for rhymes or songs. In this interpretation the farmers seek to express simplicity, spontaneity, here the farmers are ploughing the land for the agriculture. This act included a theatrical representation of the daily life of countryside people in the regional. The scene reflected the joy of the family country after they found out that Egan Bernal won the Tour of France 2019, this young man born in Zipaquira, part of this region, made the whole region and country happy.
Tolima offers an imposing landscape, full of valleys and the charm of the Andes Mountains. A diverse region in wildlife and fairy tale legends, the best cultural scene full of life and music.
Bambuco Palo Negro: “Que viva el Tolima!”…This is the second dance in which I took part in, Palo Negro, a lovely display traditional of Andean – Coffee region, a folklore choreography that included some projection elements respecting the culture and tradition. Truly a delight to dance and watch ..
This act included a theatrical representation of the Celio & Celimo, two fictional humorous -lazy characters, well known in the region who certainly made me laugh at the show and at all the rehearsal..
We then continued to El Huila, a department placed between the Eastern and Central mountain ranges and crossed by the valley of the Magdalena River, the home of one of the most representative dances and events of Colombia. This is a region of human warmth, where the locals enjoy the graceful San Juanero with great pride. These energetic dances are intangible heritage landmarks that transmit the joyful sounds of this charming land.
This act also included a theatrical representation of the National Bambuco Contest, which is one of the central events of the National Folk Festival held yearly in the city of Neiva, Colombia. It has been held in 58 continuous versions from 1961 to 2019,
Bambuco San Pedro en el Espinal: The joy of the Tolima people is observed here in the San Pedro Festival in El Espinal, Tolima. This dance is an instrumental success of Colombian music. The festival takes place in June each year and during these celebrations events such as the National Contest of San Pedro and the Municipal Contest of Comparsas take place.
The dance journey then continued towards northwest Colombia, Antioquia, and a department lying within the Andes Mountains and extending in the direction of the Caribbean Sea. This beautiful land smells of brandy, aguardiente and coffee. A region where women adorn their hair with the most beautiful flowers in the world. The most beautiful orchids in the world come from Antioquia.
Pasillo Voliao: Antioquia, a place where men court the women with their music and their guitar, where they are dressed in poncho and carriel to dance the graceful Pasillo Voliao.
Baile Bravo: The Baile Bravo is a distinctive dance of the Paisas, its origins are from Antioquia and have expanded its vibrant air through the mountains of Caldas and Risaralda. What is known today as music “parrandera” is the result of a process of transformation that arose through the time of the waltz, passing through the Pasillo along the way. Baile bravo is a rhythm in which many of the traditional dances of Antioquia are implemented.
Pasillo Fiestero: This dance, as all the other dances, is the result of a rhythmical transformation that results in a dizzying and fast pace, characteristic of popular festivals. This is one of my favourite interpretation by Fredy and Johana, I adore their body language and energetic yet flirtatious movements, a playful dancing couple every time. I absolutely love it every single time!!!!!
The eastern plains of Colombia – Los Llanos Orientales
Our dancing journey now takes us to a world of dramatic sunsets and exciting encounters. The eastern plains of Colombia, or “Los llanos” as they are known, is part of a unique culture that has remained unbroken for centuries. A region where cattle farmers gather to enjoy their much-loved music. They dance the region’s traditional joropo, while the harp, maracas and tiny cuatro guitars soothe their everyday journeys with their heavenly concert of rhythms
This is a region where the sunrise is of the deepest orange is drawn through the plains, and ranchers ride with the fresh wind in their faces while singing the most beautiful verses of the savanna songs. Their strong foot-stepping dance awakes the cows as they graze across the immense plains.
Llanero Si Soy Llanero – a song by the re-known Cholo Valderrama, singer and composer Boyacá, who lived his childhood in eastern plains of Colombia, in Casanare. In this song he describes his experiences of the rural labour, narrating also the landscape of the shores of the Pauto River. Although El Cholo is an institution of Colombian Llanera music, he is also the most internationally known singer-songwriter in this genre. This dance was performed by Jonathan and Sandra, who with their remarkable charisma and talent performed this dance with astonishing energy.
We carry on now to border our coasts, back to our huge African heritage, the Pacific & Chocó region, which is also one of the five major natural regions of Colombia. Ecologically, this region is a truly biodiversity marvel. Melodically, the sounds of the marimba de chonta adorn the yearly visits of the humpback whales. In the Pacific, the distinctive black beaches contrast with the green of its dense vegetation. An exceptional combination that, at the pace of the currulaos, hooks anyone who visits the region.
Baile Makerule: This is one of the song I cherish the most during our preparation to the Gala, not just because it took me a long of time and effort to harmonize into the choreography with the other dances, but also because I listened to this song so many times that the story behind it still resonates in a comical way when I dance it. It relates to a black-skinned gringo “Chombo” named Mac Duller… legend or truth..Nobody knows..… Later knows as “Makerule”, who was a baker of Andagoya, in Choco, and who wasruined by trusting his bread (dejar todo al fiado). The story continues as he was so obsessed with his bakery full time that his wife left him for another man…
Baile Currulao: Currulao is an energetic folk dance that symbolises courtship. Its foundation comes from the African descendant culture of the region. The word currulao refers to the word “cununao”, which is an allusion to the African drums that play a vital role in the folklore of the Colombian Pacific region, the cununos. (I don’t have a picture of this dance so wait for it..)
The region of the Barranquilla Carnival, where people have nothing to do with the divine mandate and Cumbias and children are always dancing
Baile la ChichaMaya: La Guajira
Conchita – Bullerenge: Another of my favourites, such as energy, a song by Petrona Martinez.
Lastly, the farewell dance was with all the dancers on the stage, of course, the Barranquilla Carnival that we all love in Colombia, it is listed as Cultural Heritage of the Nation and Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, this is a fantastic celebration of colours where all the history of the folklore of the Caribbean blends.
My special thanks to my special friends, Yanet, Misha, Paulo, People of CS & Internations who attended my invitation! amazing to have all there :).
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Thanks a lot for reading!
Dancing is the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts because it is not mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself. …Q
“While I dance I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole. This is why I dance.” Hans B