International Scissors Dancers of Huancavelica- Peru

Agrupacion Cultural “Yawar Chicchi”

Maximum Exponents of the Scissors Dance Travelling Throughout Peru and the World

Introduction:

The ancient scissors dance, also called Galas (Laijas), showing all the splendor stemming from the profound Andes of Peru- Huancavelica, the only ones in the world bringing their magnificent dance to the every corner of the world.  The Scissors Dance is identified with skill and ritual challenges.  From the Western point of view, the Scissors Dance is basically an impressive manifestation of art and physical skill, but for the Andean man or mestizo who inhabits the communities of the Peruvian Andes, it constitutes a complex ritual.  A series of mysteries surround the scissors dancers who, in a display of force and elasticity, put to the test their skills by means of gymnastic leaps to the rhythm of the harp and violin.  According to the colonial priests, their magic obeyed an assumed pact with the Devil, due to the surprising “pastas” (magical acts) or “pruebas” (tests of will) that the dancers execute.  These “pruebas” are called “Atipanacuy.”  The central instrument of the Scissors Dance are the scissors, made of two independent plates of metal approximately 25 cm. long and together have the form of a pair of Roman point scissors.  The major places of diffusion of this dance are: Huancavelica, Ayacucho, Huancayo, Apurimac, and Lima.

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Meaning of the Scissors Dance:

The meaning of the Scissors dance, is a traditional manifestation and cultural expression which through song and dance expresses the abilities, customs of Andean man with a sacred-ritual character, made to Andean divinities: mountains (Apus-Wamani), earth (Mamapacha), stars (Inti, quilla, joillor), and works of the community and religious festivities.

The origins of this dance also are very important to place from time immemorial before taking the present form were created to amuse, to worship during communal work (irrigation, sowing, fallowing, harvesting, and shearing the llamas and alpacas) where the dancers execute their eminent festive role.  After the dance was incorporated into Christian rites, principally the festivals of patron saints of Andean villages.  The geographic area that has developed this dance up to the present is the Departments of Huancavelica, Ayacucho, Apurimac, and the Northern part of Arequipa.  The choreographic expressions that these dancers practice are: Nacimiento Pasacalle (Christmas parade), danza mayor (Major dance), qolla alva, zapatin, pascuas, Christmas, and in the songs: pascuas, versos, ayapampa and huaynos.

The Scissors Dance is one of the most impressive dances of the Peruvian Andes, and one of the best dances in the Americas.  It is executed with the music of violin and harp and a type of separated metal sheet similar to scissors, the dancers called “danzantes,” where their skill, physicality, abilities, and resistance are put to the test, the winner is attributed to be protected or illuminated by the “Apus-Wamani” and the Andean divinities represented by the mountain gods.

The Scissors Dance displays its own style and music, is a classic ritual dance of magic-religious character, where the spirits of Andean gods are represented choreographically.

From ancient times the dancers have executed the great ceremonial ritual during Holy Week, which is the secret understanding of the Andean world with their Apus-Wamanis.  Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, commemorating the death of Christ, the scissors dancers go out to plazas and towns in order to achieve this communication with the mountain gods, also known as the cultural resistance born in response to the Spanish conquest from the Taki Onqoy (dancing sickness).  On Friday of Holy Week the great masters teach their disciples.  At the end of the 1960s the dance was converted into an artistic symbol and cultural patrimony of Peru.  Transformed into a cultural manifestation and one of the most meaningful expressions of Andean culture, and in part integrated into the national cultural heterogeneity of Peru.  As a symbol and constituting a language of the people.

History of Dance Scissors:

The meaning of the scissors dance is a manifestation and cultural and traditional expression through dance and song express the skills , customs of the Andean man with a ” Sacra – Ritual” character to the Andean divinities hills Apus – Wamanis ) Mamapacha earth ) , inti astros joillor keel) and doings of community work and religious festivals field.

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The origins of this dance is also very important to note since the time immemorial before take the current form , was created to entertain and perform worship and communal irrigation, planting, plowing, harvesting and shearing llamas where tusuj ran fulfilling eminently festive role. And after admission to the Christian rites , mainly in the festivities of the Andean peoples.

Geographical area that this dance takes place in the present departments : Huancavelica Ayacucho, Apurimac , Arequipa North .

The choreographic expressions these dancers are dancing : Birth parade , more dance, qolla alva Zapatin Easter and Christmas songs : Easter , verse, and huaynos ayapampa .

DANCE OF SCISSORS , is one of the most impressive dances Peruvian Andes , is recognized as CULTURAL HERITAGE OF THE NATION and THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE HUMANIDAD.Reconocido by UNESCO. the best dance in America and the World. Running with music violin and harp and a kind of sheet metal separated and resemble scissors dancers dancers are called protagonists in a ritual that involves an extensive competition with other dancers in the tests your dexterity , physical ability and endurance, the winner will be credited protected and illuminated by wamani Apus and Andean deities , represented by the gods of the mountains.

The scissors dance has its own style and music, it’s a classic religious ritualistic dance choreography magical character where represent the spirits of the Andean gods

From the dancers execute the ancestors called the great ceremonial assay Easter, is the secret understanding with the Andean world apus wamanis on Thursday and Friday to commemorate dead christ, scissor dancers come to dance places and peoples to achieve that communication with apus , also called as cultural resistance born in 1565 Spanish response song called Taqui Onqoy dying ) in those days Good Friday leverage the greatest masters to teach his disciples. In the late twentieth century 60 dance became a symbol artistic and cultural heritage of Peru . Becoming a cultural and local manifestation in one of the most significant expressions of Andean culture and integral part of the Peruvian national cultural heterogeneous. As symbols and constituting primarily a language of the people

Ancestry of “Agrupacion Yawar Chicchi”:

The members of this group are one of the major exponents of the scissors dance, with their style and authentic originality.“Chicchi Para” was a famous master of the Scissors Dance.  From the age of 5, he traveled together with other folklore artists on the national and international levels, he was an extraordinary dancer, winner of more than 1000 prizes in different towns and villages of the region, had a unique style for his technique of the feet and the way he vibrated the scissors, perfected the dance of the Christmas Parade.

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Etymology:

Yawar means blood, heredity, or generation

Chicchi Para means light smooth rain.

This company is made up of his sons, grandsons, and disciples, continuing his steps, the same unique style and technique of the feet from generation to generation.  “Yawar Chicchi” whose major practitioners are Chicchi Para, Lasta Para, Rey Chicchi (Male dancers), Mariposita, NinaChaki, Ninakilla, Azunhayta, and Qoyllorita (female dancers).

The dancers are faithful cultivators of an artform that has persevered for centuries.  To be a “danzante” means to be like a holy man, to have constant dedication to the sacred ritual.  Therefore it is said that the scissors dance is a traditional cultural expression of Andean man, by which the dancers are mediators between Mamapacha (earthmother), the mountains, and the village.

Origins of the Scissors Dance:

“Los Tusuq” “Layjas” antecendents of the scissors dancers, were considered priests, fortune-tellers, witch-doctors, and medicine men, who were very respected by their villages.  During the Spanish Conquest, the conquistadors attempted to ban the ancient agricultural customs of the Andean people in order to establish forced labor in mines.  Scissors Dancers were also persecuted but refused to abandon their ancient traditions.  Therefore they called the scissors dancers “Supaypa Waman” which means “Son of the devil” who took refuge in the most inhospitable altitudes.  As the Spanish could not erase the Andean cosmovision and mythology, they accepted the integration of these practices into colonial society under the condition that they dance in honor of the Christian god.  They participated in Catholic rituals, by which they submitted to the villages.  The origins of this dance are also very important to place from time immemorial, before they took the present form they were created to amuse, worship, that were based in the form of agricultural work, and the liturgical rituals as a life-style between man, society, and nature.  This form of song and dance was represented sowing, harvest, and shearing llama, and alpaca.  But, more precisely, it originated in the history of the Incas.  For many years, the “tusuj” was practiced, accompanied by the “quena” and the “tinya” to the beat with a type of instrument related to the work of sowing and shearing of llamas and alpacas.  Some historians and anthropologists have attempted to link or relate the dance with the movement Taki Onqoy.  In the middle of the 16th century (1560-1570), they sustain that the dance surged in this movement of resistance to the Spanish conquest by our native culture, proving the pre-hispanic origin of the dance having a magic-religious conception through the wamanis in the cosmovision of ancient Andean (Peruvian) man.

Costume and Choreography of the Dance:

In the present time The Scissors Dance is a classic ritual dance of magic-religious character, which choreographically represents the spirits of the Andean gods; pachamama, yacumama, hanaccpacha, ucupacha, and other wamanis, as different aspects of the inhabitants of the region.  Historically, its staging is linked to Andean messianic movements or of the religious and cultural revindication of sectors of prehispanic peoples.  Choreographically, the dance has been influenced by dances that the Spanish brought with them, especially las jotas, contradanza, and minues, and also by the dress of the great Viceroys.

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The use of the scissors, constituted by a female scissors, and another male scissor, is due to a historical process where “los tusuj” submitted to mining exploitation and in the melting process searched for an alloy of metals that expressed their sentiments and the spirits of their ancestors.  The dancer’s attire varies, depending on their personality and circumstances.  During Colonial times they began to imitate the brilliant military uniforms, making certain changes according to their tastes.

Choreography:

The dance can be classified into danza mayor or of the competition, called Atipanacuy; danza menor or Qolla alva which is danced at night; zapateos executed during Christmas festivities.  The dances have an almost sacred vocation, beginning from their training, which is transmitted from generation to generation, during infancy.  A proper occasion to appreciate this dance is on December 25, as well as the month of January every year, where the dancers compete throughout the region of Huancavelica.  Thus, the embroidered metal strings were little by little used to represent the pseudonyms of the dancers, and natural figures which appear on the costumes of today’s dancers, represent the richness of Peru.  The costume is completed with feathers, hats, wigs, shirts, jackets, sashes, pants, sleeves, stockings, sneakers, handkerchiefs, gloves, and of course, Steel Scissors.