Photo. Dancing wildly with the Indians in Chivay, at an altitude of about 3700 metres (also displayed digitally on video). Here we see the fantastic orchestra.
It sounds really suspicions, but it was a traditional ritual in the Peruvian culture. The 7th July 2002 I stayed one night in the Chivay, 160 kilometres from Arequipa in Peru. It's a Indian village high up in the mountain (3700 metres), located in the Colca valley, and is the capital of the Caylloma province.
The Indians wear traditional, colourful embroidered clothes, especially their beautiful hats are the most distinctive. I could hear that they were experts of playing Inca wind instruments. They blew in their typical panpipes as best they could, and out it came beautiful tones.
Watch the video clip on Travel Explorations.
The locals played on the common Quena (kena), a flute made of mambo, and other kind of flutes. They also used typical instruments as Bombo (drum) and Charango (string instrument). Together they sounded as a perfect orchestra for party (fiesta) music.
Later in the evening I was invited to join them in a dance, which I couldn't refuse. It was called Tutsjo, Titiua or something like that. There are as many as 300 varieties of traditional dances in Peru, and I assume that this peculiar dance was a speciality.
It was a big honour to be invited for a dance. Even though I suffered little bit from altitude sickness, I couldn`t say no to such offer. I was gripped by the intense music and unique atmosphere in the room.
The locals danced a special dance for healing a sickness. I understood that the dance was of ritual character. I just moved around without knowing too much of the meaning of the dance. I took my steps and turned many times. My arm work was central in the dance. It was probably because of the rope I had around my back.
It was really heavy to breath in the thin air here, but so far I keep my breath. After a while I started to get dizzy. My strange dancing style reminded probably not much of a traditional Peruvian dance, but the show had to go on.
I really wonder what kind of sickness the Indian woman wanted to cure me for. Did I look so sick? In the middle of the dancing show I was told to lie down on the floor. She danced with elegant moves over my body without stamping me. The Indian woman stood over my face, and suddenly she lifted up her skirt and almost sat down over my head. Then I got really problems with breathing and I nearly lost my breath. So she fanned her skirt in my face. It was like air condition. I “woke” up again and waited for her next move.
She struggled to pull me up again by a rope. It was not easy for her, but with making it easier for her, she finally made me stand on my feet again. Yes, I was cured. It`s was no doubt about that.
As I was told this was a traditional dancing ritual symbolises a lover passes out after biting a piece of poison fruit, and then wakes up after the girl puts her dress over his head. This was the only way to revive me after eaten the fruit.
My guide Marianno said afterwards that I looked like a bird when I danced. Perhaps you thought you were a condor, he said. Was it meant as a compliment? And I am sure many wondered: what did I actually see under her skirt? It`s my secret!
Stein Morten Lund, 25th July 2012
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