Peruvian Dance Company
The tiny Andean mountain villages of Huancayoq and Chula, 4000 feet above sea level, contain a landscape of extraordinary beauty. Spreading across the terrain are vibrantly colored wildflowers, lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls, and a crystalline blue sky. These blissful elements are reflected in the colorful weavings of the Andean people, as well as in the moods portrayed in their songs and dances. So "high in the sky" do these villagers live, the sky in fact is a powerful divinity for them.
Peruvian Dance Company was founded by Luis Valverde in 2002. Having started his career in 1991 in Lima, he moved to the Bay Area in 2000 as Director of the Ballet Antakella in the Tradicion Peruana Cultural Center of San Francisco. Currently he teaches Andean Dance at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.
PIECE: Simpaycha (little braids)
In the 2004 Festival, Peruvian Dance Company offers Simpaycha, meaning, "little braids" as it refers to the braiding games young girls play during an important Andean courtship ritual. While the roots of the Simpaycha date back to before the Inca Empire, after the Spanish Conquest the ritual became an annual practice done ten days before Carnival.
During this courtship ritual young men and women flirt, play games, scream and frolic around while trying to seek out their respective partners who will accompany them for the upcoming Carnival celebrations. Braids being a powerful symbol of femininity, Andean young women make and care for their braids for the Simpaycha ritual. The male counterpart of fixing braids is the playing of the sacred prehistoric drum, the tinya. It is a masculine symbol that plays a fundamental role in the ritual as it defines the essential characteristics of the young boys and is also used as a way of flirting.