Tradition! Tradition!

By Tyler L. York

Okay, so, I am not talking Tevye here, but I am talking of cultural traditions maintained by the community.

I was fortunate enough to see the national dance of Chile performed near a beach outside Concepcíon on Saturday. The dance is called the Cueca.

The Cueca is performed between one man and one woman. The man either portrays a ranch owner or a ranch worker, while the woman usually portrays a ranch worker, but can also represent the wife of a rancher. The costume will tell you who the dancers represent. In the video of the dance I saw below, we see this dance performed as a rancher and a worker. The Cueca parodies the courtship of a rooster and chicken. In this pairing of master/worker, the man is a young rancher trying to woo the woman, with the hope that she will become his wife.

This dance has been kept alive for centuries by the people of Chile and other Latin American peoples. It’s exact origins are unknown, but probably began in the 19th century. It is regularly performed in the rural areas of the country and during national festivals.

Tyler L. York is the Assistant General Manager of Emerson Stage.

Follow @tylerlyrok, @emstage, #EmStageTravels on Twitter for live updates from Chile!

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