Tag Archives: dance

Paraguay, A Highlight Reel

8 Dec

Explanation of the images/videos:

1. View from my apartment, lovin’ that red dirt!
2.  A competition at a local high school where each group had to present traditional clothing, dance, food, etc. of their assigned country.  This is actually a traditional Argentine dance.  I taught a group of kids traditional American dance (aka the Cupid Shuffle and basic swing dancing steps) but instead of performing it they just sent one girl up to perform a (not at all) traditional American booty dance.
3.  This is my host sister speaking 3 languages in a 15 second period.
4. My host dad makes these great wooden signs that he chips out/carves and then paints.  Although he says it’s a man’s work, he agreed to teach me this summer so that I could bring the craft back to the United States and teach the men there.
5. Remember how the idea of your parents or teachers watching you dance at prom, for example, was mortifying?  Not the case in Paraguay!  Music was put on for the contestants of the aforementioned competition while the judges deliberated…and all of their parents, teachers, and peers watched them dance.
6. My host sister and the neighbor speaking a little Guarani
7. This harp performance was at a celebration of the 50th(?) anniversary of the local college.  The harp is a very traditional and integral part of Paraguayan music.  The style is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, with the strings always being plucked very ferociously!
8. One time I was on look out duty through the back of a pick up truck window for the 2 hour ride from Asuncion to Paraguari to see if the fridge was still in fact on the bed of the pick up truck.  Removing my eyes for five seconds resulted in the driver yelling “HAKE, HAKE, HAKE!” (careful, careful, careful!) at me.  Rightly so, as he was generous enough to embark on this adventure to retrieve a fridge for my apartment.  Fortunately, the fridge made it in one piece without causing damage to his car or anyone else.  Unfortunately, the fridge did not work upon arrival.
9. One of my host families had a host dog named Sasha. Sasha is the Justo Villar of dogs. [Justo Villar is the amazing goalie of the Paraguayan national soccer team.  I unfortunately couldn’t capture Sasha’s most impressive saves on camera, but you get the idea, right?]
10. A bull fight at our neighborhood party.  Bull fights are extremely popular in Paraguay, luckily they don’t kill the bulls.
11. Traditional Paraguayan dance (I’m still trying to join one of these dance groups!  Paraguayans don’t take me seriously when I tell them I want to join.  I’ve also been told I’m too big to join, and that it would be impossible to find a man large enough to dance with me)
12. Me with my host family from training on swear-in day.


Stumbled Upon

12 Mar

Last night Lisa and I headed to Centro Cultural Matucana 100 to take in a movie (which we´ve been doing a lot of because we decided it´s an excellent way to practice our Spanish), and instead stumbled upon an outdoor recital of sorts that hadn´t started yet.  We weighed our options and choose the outdoor concert, not knowing what we were in for.

I´m glad we did!  It ended up being the recital of a modern dance troup of all women (with some men playing in the band).  It was an intense hour and fifteen minutes really exploring the history of oppression of women in Chile (and really everywhere).  They did an excellent job in their representations, because although nothing was super graphic, I felt so sad while I was watching it.

It started with women washing and hanging laundry and the idea of women as homemakers and moved to the women breaking away from that only to become objects (dancing with measuring tapes around their waists).  I can´t really give an explanation that would do the performance justice, it was just amazing to see such an intensely liberal production in such a historically conservative/full of machismo country.

It was also refreshing to see that the audience was full of men!  There was an interesting mix of people in the audience, from hippies to very well-dressed (cuico, if you will), young to old…we tried to figure out what/if there was a common thread that brought everyone there, but we didn´t draw any conclusions.

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