Bolivian government declares five Andean dances intangible heritage

By means of a supreme decree, the Bolivian government declared five Bolivian dances (the morenada, hullahuada, caporales, saya afroboliviana and llamerada) intangible heritage, yesterday.

Javier Escalier, who is responsible for Ministry of Culture festivals and is one of the promoters of this declaration, explained that the decree seeks to add value to these dances and ensure Bolivia's ownership of them, as many times they have been "unduly" presented as Chilean or Peruvian. He recalled that the last time this occurred was during the Viña del Mar festival. The objective of this new stipulation is to ensure political protection of them, and the decree is just a first step, he said.

Escalier pointed out that the diablada is not on the new list of dances declared as Bolivia's heritage "because the matter must still be deliberated in the Legislative Assembly", and has been promoted independently by members from Oruro.

When consulted on the pertinente and possibility of also considering other Bolivian dances from Eastern Bolivia, the Chaco region, the Bolivian valleys, and Potosí, as heritage, Escalier indicated that the matter was debated among parliament members and technicians, but the possibility was discarded because ownership of the latter dances aren't at risk of being claimed by other countries. "We have to find other ways of promoting them," he suggested.

News of this declaration was celebrated yesterday with traditional music bands at Plaza Villarroel in La Paz. The purpose of the measure is to preserve the integrity of the folkloric and cultural expressions of Bolivia's identity which, unfortunately, are being misappropriated by neighboring countries, states the decree.

"It is a norm that will enable us to defend, conserve, and promote Bolivian music, dances and folkloric interpretations," said President Evo Morales, who was present at the act along with other government authorities.

Regulations will follow:

Scope. Javier Escalier, of the Ministry of Culture and responsible for festivals, explained that regulations will be prepared that will contemplate a plan to safeguard these dances, register them, and catalog them. After this, the Ministry of Cultures, municipal governments, state governments, and associations of folklore performers will be jointly responsible for ensuring it is acknowledged.

Protagonists. The Andean rhythms which have been declared Bolivian heritage are a fundamental part of the Carnaval de Oruro, which UNESCO has already declared as Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Source: El Deber Date: 15 June 2011 Read this Article in Spanish

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