What is the chacarera dance?
Chacarera is an Argentinian dance style originating from an isolated province called ‘Santiago Del Estero’. This romantic Argentinian folk dance is said to be an integral part of the country’s cultural identity. Furthermore, this dance’s style is considered to be extremely similar to the Argentine Tango. In addition, several similarities can be observed between Chacarera, and a few “Ibero-American” folk dances that include the Chilean cueca and Peruvian Marinera.
a. History/origin of the Chacarera Dance:
According to a musicologist named Carlos Vega, this dance has been created from the “Baroque Contradance choreography”. It also supposedly belongs to the family of “Ibero-American” folk dances. Apparently, according to a document called “Santiaguenan” belonging to a band leader named Andres Chazaretta, this dance was supposed to have been created during the early 20th century in Argentina.
b. Costumes used in the Chacarera Dance:
The flamboyant clothing required for Chacarera, which consists of traditional Argentine flouncy dresses, is also well known. The costume used in this dance style varies according to gender as follows:
1. For women:
The attire worn includes a close-fitting dress, a full skirt made from silk or velvet, white trousers, and a white underskirt decorated with ribbon and bows, black muslin stockings, and a pair of low-heeled black shoes. In addition, white muslin can be seen on the neckline of the dress as well as on the sides of the sleeves.
2. For men:
The attire worn includes a white silk shirt consisting of a collar and long sleeves, a black silk handkerchief, vest consisting of rounded lapels either in red, blue, beige, or green colour.
The flamboyant clothing required for Chacarera, which consists of traditional Argentine flouncy dresses, is also well known.
c. What instruments are used in chacarera?
Chacarera is a traditional Argentine folk dance and music style that originated in the rural regions of Argentina. It is characterized by its lively rhythm and energetic nature. Various musical instruments are typically used to accompany chacarera performances. The primary instruments found in a typical chacarera ensemble include:
Guitar: The guitar is the most essential instrument in chacarera. It provides the harmonic and rhythmic foundation, often played with a strumming technique known as “rasgueo.”
Bombo Legüero: The bombo legüero is a large drum made from a hollowed tree trunk and covered with an animal skin. It is played by striking the skin with a wooden mallet or the hands. The bombo legüero provides the characteristic driving rhythm of chacarera.
Violin: The violin adds melodic elements to the ensemble. It often plays the main melodies and improvisations, bringing a distinct and vibrant sound to the music.
Accordion: The accordion, also known as bandoneón, is occasionally used in chacarera. It adds a rich and full-bodied sound, particularly in solo passages or as a harmonic accompaniment.
Charango: The charango is a small stringed instrument resembling a miniature guitar. It has five pairs of strings and is often used to add embellishments, virtuosic passages, or percussive effects in the chacarera ensemble.
Mandolin: The mandolin is occasionally employed in chacarera performances, contributing to the ensemble’s overall texture and providing additional rhythmic and melodic support.
d. The effects of the Chacarera Dance music:
Atahualpa Yupanqui, Los Hermanos Abalos, and more recent musical ensembles like the D’o Coplanacu, Peteco Carabajal, and La Chacarera Santiaguera have all recorded their work using the Chacarera music of Manuel Gómez Carrillo and Andrés Chazarreta as a foundation. A local, national, and international audience for the genre has developed as a result of the distribution of these recordings via record and radio. Musicians congregate in Peas, or tiny folk clubs, in Santiago del Estero, Mendoza, and Buenos Aires to sing and dance their favorite Chacareras, frequently with a distinctive regional flair. The Chacarera recordings of musicians like Yupanqui are well-known in nearby nation-states like Uruguay, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile, and they are frequently incorporated into local music.
e. Training availability and technique involved in the Chacarera Dance:
In terms of technique, the male performers initially arrange themselves by circling around the female performers. Furthermore, the males then attempt to seduce their female counterparts by stomping their feet and waving handkerchiefs they hold in their hands in accordance with the rhythm of the accompanying music. Since this traditional dance is primarily performed in Argentina, there aren’t many training centers/schools available internationally.