Joropo is a dance style created using elements belonging to several “European, South American, and African performing art forms”. This “Latin American” dance is said to have originated from Venezuela, and in 1882 it was officially declared as the “national” dance. In the seventeenth century, Caracas welcomed the Venezuelan dance for the first time. Furthermore, this dance style comprises several elements belonging to “Fandango” a . In addition, this dance consists of a number of variations depending on the region of its origin within the country, and it includes the central joropo, east joropo, Guyanes joropo, joropo tucuyero, Golpe Tocuyano, Quirpa, and joropo Ilanero.
a. History and origin of the Joropo dance:
According to the cultural history of Venezuela, this dance style is said to have originated a tropical grassland plain known as “Los Llanos” belonging to Venezuela and Colombia. Such was the popularity of this dance in Venezuela in the year 1882 it was declared officially as the “national dance”. Furthermore, it was during the 18th century that this dance style was named “joropo” which means “a party” by the Llanero community.
Video about Joropo Dance Origin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z8ZYom1K8g
b.Joropo’s arrival in Venezuela
Fandango, a dance form with Spanish roots, first appeared as performances at parties hosted by affluent individuals like owners of cacao haciendas.
The Venezuelan farmers who were employed at the haciendas tried to replicate this distinctive music and added some of their own sounds, such as maracas. They made the decision to rename these celebrations Joropo because they gradually changed them into ones that reflected their culture.
They gradually added custom dances with waltz variations that were meant to create figures to the beat of the music. Joropo was then used to refer to the now-traditional music and dance rather than the parties.
Venezuelans combine sounds and instruments from various regions that have influenced their history and culture to create the distinctive dance known as joropo, which has become a beloved tradition there.
c. Variation of Joropo dance
The dance of Venezuela is known as joropo, but there are some regional variations depending on where it is performed.
Every region of Joropo adds a touch of their unique essence to their performances, despite the fact that there are some universal traits that define Joropo. To personalize the dance, some performers add unique figures and movements.
They primarily perform in the following areas:
The three styles of Venezuelan dance are as follows:
In the Los Llanos (the Plains) region between Colombia and Venezuela, people dance this variation. Given that this is where it originated, Venezuelan dance and music in this style are the most traditional. The first European settlers made their way to this region, where they encouraged the local farmers to develop their own dances.
The accordion is used in this region’s traditional music.
The Joropo Center
Joropo Central includes spoken word in addition to music.
d. Costumes used in the Joropo Dance:
The costume used in this dance style varies depending on the gender as follows:
1. For men:
The attire worn includes the “liqui liqui” outfit that consists of jacket and long pants. In addition, cowboy hats may also be worn.
2. For women:
The attire worn includes a long flowing colourful dress, a pair of shoes, and a braided hairstyle.
e. Music involved in the Joropo dance:
The musical instrument used in this dance style includes the harp (i.e. arpa llanera), bandola, cuatro, and the maracas. In addition, vocals often accompany the music composed for this dance.
f. Training availability and technique involved in the Joropo dance:
In terms of technique, this dance involves movements such as the hand turn, movement of the feet, and waltz turns. Furthermore, the performers i.e. male and female basically dance by holding each other tightly in the arms. In addition, they then face each other and take small steps backward as well as forward. Finally, the female uses sweeping steps while the male stomps his feet in complete rhythm to the accompanying music. As for training centers and schools, there are none available around the world since this “Latin American” dance is mainly performed in Venezuela.
g. Some of the best Joropo dance videos:
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