In a world of globalization, indigenous forms of expression are under pressure, disappearing rapidly or have been handed over to the tourist industry. Many forms of indigenous rituals and community practices are part of intangible heritage.
Tierra Espiritual or Spiritual World is a concept of work, in which contemporary theatre-makers contribute to the strengthening of these indigenous artists. The starting point is that there is no such thing as high or low culture, but an enormous diversity of cultural expression. These can influence or contrast more sharply with each other: They are complementary to each other.
Tierra Espiritual is a theatre, dance and music project in which old indigenous traditions and rituals regain a meaningful place with young and old. Bolivia has more than 400 wind instruments that are used in different ways at spiritual moments. The use of these instruments, their dances and rituals are linked to the Aymara agricultural calendar. For example, in the year there are instruments that can only be played in the wet season or in the dry season. One month a year, it is not allowed to be played at all because the gods must then be left in peace.
The inhabitants of the Copusquia valley were guided by our Bolivian-Dutch team to convey old music and dance traditions from their elders to the youth in a contemporary form. We worked together with the schools and the village heads. Over three years, cultural coordinators from ten different hamlets in the Copusquia valley led after-school dance and music classes. In addition, a festival was organized at a different time of the year that is linked to an important moment in the agricultural calendar. In this way, we hoped to convey some of the rich traditions and knowledge in an alternative educational way to the young generations in this community. We also see that our project could inspire many other indigenous communities in this culturally rich country. To achieve this, we worked with the government of the La Paz department and with the Deputy Minister of Culture.
Partner organisation: Asociacion Yatiyaña
Place: Bolivia, Camacho, Copusquia
Head of project: Berith Danse and Roberto Callisaya
Production team: 3
Local artists: 80
Target group: Aymara community of Copusquia
Workshops: 9 schools, 300 students.
Participating Organizations: Alcaldia de la Paz direction de la Cultura.
Finances: Oxfam-Novib, SHI, Unitas, Dutch Embassy in La Paz, Theatre Embassy.
Theme: Recovery Indigenous music, song & dance
Visit of Dutch minister of Development Koenders.
DVD: Edu-video Tierra Espiritual I & 30 minutes by Andrea Montenegro and Native music recording by Alejandro Callisaya.
Watch on vimeo