World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Asociación Cultural Kanchis

GENRE: Afro-Peruvian

Asociación Cultural Kanchis is a non-profit dance group, created with the goal of promoting Peru’s rich culture. Kanchis means “us” in the indigenous Quechua language and refers to a dance performed by village chiefs carrying staffs as signs of power.


De Rompe y Raja – Asociación Cultural Kanchis

TITLE: Hatajo De Negritos
GENRE: Afro-Peruvian
CHOREOGRAPHERS: Peta Robles, Gabriela Shiroma
GUEST ARTIST: Miguel Ballumbrosio
DANCERS: Juandiego Britto, Fernanda Bustamante, Norma Depina, Bárbara Diestra, Roxana Ferreira, Gabriella Guimarey, Max Guimarey, Jonathan Hernández, Pina López, Rosa Los Santos, Sylvia Pestana, Julissa Rivera, Marco Rivera, Miguel Sanchez, Erika Sarmiento, Trini Sarmiento, Gabriela Shiroma, Diego Zamalloa-Chion
VIOLIN: Daniel Zamalloa


En Nombre de Dios comienzo
Porque es bueno comenzar

In the name of God I will start
Because that is the only way

Peru was the seat of the Spanish Viceroy in South America beginning in the 16th century. During nearly three hundred years of colonial rule, the culture and traditions of Peru’s indigenous population and people of African descent were almost completely absorbed into Spanish Catholicism. This piece, Hatajo de Negritos, pays homage to Black identity in rural Peru. It is a vignette of a Christmas festival in the town of El Carmen, Chincha—a festival with diverse elements from Peru’s cultural history.

During the festivities, a statue of the Virgin Mary is carried in procession. Young girls called pallas don bridal veils and sing carols to honor Mary and the baby Jesus. Young boys and men sing and dance to violin music in front of nativity scenes: celebrating in their homes, the village square, and in front of the church. The festivities end on January 6th with a procession to the sanctuary of the Blessed Melchorita, a local holy woman, in the neighboring village of Grocio Prado.

In this tradition, indigenous Peruvian, Spanish, and African cultures converge. The lyrics are from European Christmas carols, with some references to the hardships of slavery. Dancers carry hand bells and rope whips reminiscent of slavery, and they dance in parallel lines led by a caporal, or foreman. The melodies are of Spanish origin with a strong Andean influence. The quick zapateo footwork displays an African heritage.

In the 20th century, Familia Ballumbrosio—a family of dancers and musicians led by the late Amador Ballumbrosio, zapateador and violinist—continued and rejuvenated the hatajos tradition. Today, the festivities are a vital part of Chincha’s Afro-Peruvian life.

De Rompe y Raja’s performance is part of an ongoing cultural exchange with the Ballumbrosio and Córdova families, from El Carmen, Chincha, Peru. In 2013, De Rompe y Raja visited El Carmen, rehearsed these dances with local practitioners, and performed with Hatajo Amador Ballumbrosio. Our Festival was honored to have Amador’s son, master musician and dancer Miguel Ballumbrosio, as a guest leader of the hatajos.


Title: Imilia Munin
: Rosendo Aguilar, Edwin Chicchon, Evelyn Fabian, Rosa Garcia, Gabriel Izquierdo, Chris Leon, Gladys Leon, Ossi Leon, Gabriela Lima, Carlos Magan, Daniela Magan, Julissa Rivera, Leslie Rivera, Marco Rivera, Edgar Salinas, Toya Sanchez, Valeria Sanchez, Ambar Vicente,
David Vilcherrez, Jr. 

Imilla Muniri means "pretty girl" in Peru's indigenous Aymaran language. The dance is an old form, a quiet huayno dance that is said to have never before been performed on stage. It's an integral part of a pre-bridal ceremony, danced in the highlands by single girls looking for fiancés. It's often during this dance, on a Sunday, that a couple will decide to marry. The couples execute quick turns, hops, and the tap-like zapateo, all without touching, and the men kneel to sing:

. . . you're the girl of my dreams, that is why tonight I'm singing for you, and you will dance with me . . ..

Many indigenous Aymara people live at altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet in the spectacular plains of the Peruvian Andes. During the popular celebration of San Juan, farmers and shepherds meet in the plaza, wearing their best, ready to dance. It is harvest time, and the community pays tribute to Mother Earth, imploring for her blessing with fruitfulness and fecundity, dancing for the crops and for the young couples' abundant futures.

In the Andes, many of today's popular dances originated in the cultures that flourished there for thousands of years. The huayno is the representative dance of the region, and its origins pre-date the arrival of Europeans. The Quechua and Aymara are the region's two largest indigenous groups--with over five million native speakers--and they have retained much of their traditional culture. The huayno is very popular in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, northern Chile, and Argentina, especially during Carnival. Over centuries, the form has evolved many regional variations, some with marching bands.

The dancers' costumes are traditionally made of alpaca wool. Both men and women wear flowers to accentuate their beauty and show they are single and looking for love. The regional instruments include the mandolina, the quena bamboo flute, and the zampoña panpipe.


Marco Rivera
DANCERS: J. Alberto Bandera, Gloria Buluje, Cecilia Fonseca, Gillian Griffiss, Shanty Gupta, Sheila Guzman, Oscar Guzman, Gladys Leon, Christopher Leon, Oscar Leon, Ossi Leon, Elsie Lopez, Pina Lopez, Carlos Magan, Karla Magan, Sarela Mazzini, Marcel Neumann, Laura Perez, Carlos Robles, Maria del Mar Robles, Toya Sanchez, Miguel Sanchez, Renato Sanchez, Valeria Sanchez, and Jorge Ventimilla.

In Peru, as in many South American countries, there is a confluence of Native Indian, African and Spanish cultures that can be recognized in the dance, music, dress, language and cuisine of the country. Certain of these influences can be identified more than others. In mestizo dances, mestizo referring to the mix of Indian and Spanish, there is a blending of indigenous elements with those of Catholicism. As in the United States, some Native American tribes maintained their rich spiritual traditions by adopting the Catholic symbols and blending them into their own rituals. In addition, they sometimes created simple folk dances that had double-meanings. In this way they could hide from the strict rules of harsh landowners and maintain group solidarity.

Asociación Cultural Kanchis presents a mestizo dance that offers a glimpse into a typical religious and social event found in rural northern Peru. The company depicts an annual religious procession which is followed by a celebratory fiesta. A tondero dance typical of the area is also performed at the event.

The dance "Pacasito" is part of the religious/social celebration in honor of El Señor Cautivo de Ayabaca. This piece was originally created in the 19th century but adapted to the stage by this group in 2003. Concealed within this joyous and playful dance are several meanings. On the outset, the performers enact farm workers who are celebrating out in the fields. When they sense their master's arrival they hide under the women's skirts and reemerge to continue their celebrations upon his departure. This dance is a metaphor for how the ancient worship of Apu Inti Taita, the Incan god of the sun, became hidden behind the Catholic worship of Christ. The accompanying music is performed on typical Indian and Spanish instruments, such as the quena, an Indian pipe, the Spanish guitar, and violin and drums.

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