JOROPO: National dance of Venezuela

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JOROPO DANCE, VENEZUELA

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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 was officially declared as the “national” dance. Furthermore, this dance style comprises of 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/origin of the Joropo:

According to the cultural history of Venezuela, this dance style is said to have originated form a tropical grassland plain known as “Los Llanos” belonging to Venezuela and Colombia. Such was the popularity of this dance in Venezuela that in the year 1882 it was declared officially as the “national dance”. Furthermore, it was during 18th century that this dance style was named “joropo” which means “a party” by the Llanero community.

b. Costumes used in the Joropo:

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.

c. Music involved in the Joropo:

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.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Joropo:

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 other and take small steps backwards as well as forwards. Finally, the female use 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.

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