Issue - September 2009

September 2009


In this edition: Hayley Hewat tells us about how to promote social inclusion through dance Projects in Bolivia; Enrique Happ Football Club, more that sports by Dylan Rudloff; Alejandra Ramirez researches of women in the streets in Cochabamba; Finally we learn about some about of Cochabamba's great musicias from Walter Sanchezread more...

September 2009

Dance: Making Way for a Better Future?

“Dance is a way of life. A path.” These words, spoken by Ana Cecilia Moreno, a founding member of Atempo Danza, are the basis for a new project of social inclusion spreading throughout South America.

Hayley Hewat
Projects Abroad Volunteer
Ayrshire - United Kingdom

Professionals joined by a love of dance and a belief in its ability to bring a community together and implement social equality, not only in cities but also in rural and deprived areas, have joined in the pursuit of making social inclusion a focus through dance. Projects in many different Latin American countries including Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico and, of course, Bolivia, are being brought together for the IV Festival Internacional de Danza de Bolivia; united by the pursuit of similar goals. The dance circle in South America is very small, so this festival, being held from the 1st to the 5th of September, enables all the separate projects to find and create new initiatives. The multinational aspect of the festival is enriching, not only for Bolivian culture but also for the culture of dance.

The festival is an opportunity for Bolivia to showcase their dancing which is little known in Latin America. There are people who want to see what is happening in Bolivia and this is their chance to do just that and also to create opportunities for work. The festival will allow for the artistic aspect of Cochabambino culture to be seen. People will be able to witness and understand that this is art that is developing in Cochabambino and Bolivian society. The festival also provides the prospect of people being trained in the tools of technology and possibly the start of new initiatives so that people can meet others from different countries and cultures and exchange ideas.

All forms of art have a sense of the aesthetic and it is important for society to rebuild their aesthetic, to appreciate their aesthetic, to reformulate the beautiful things that are within a society. With dance there is a corporeal sense, it is beautiful in itself, in its ability to be physically represented and visually taken in. Any art space is a space for reflection, a space for civil development and social growth, both of which are necessary in rapidly growing cities, especially those which are in need of alternative proposals for expression.

Dance also helps with internal development, either personal or collective. It helps with self-esteem, developing the body, developing the intellect, enhancing powers of concentration and emotional balance; all of these benefits are important for society. As all of these qualities are inherent in humans, dance becomes something democratic, something in which all individuals are able to participate.

Collectively, there are projects that work in very isolated regions, far from built up areas, some that work with semi-urban areas, and others that work in poor and disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Targeted areas are those that don’t have access to the arts; they could be people who are disabled or poor or people who live in rural sectors; because they believe in developing the arts in all contexts with equal value.

Nuevas Formas de Expresión, a project that was created in 2005 started working with young people from Punata and Villa Rivero and in 2007 with youths and professional dancers from the whole region of Punata and Villa Rivero.

Nuevas Formas is now a part of the Lazos organisation and therefore it now participates in many projects advocating social inclusion. The aim is to promote social inclusion through dance projects, but more than that, the aim is for the dancers and the community to know themselves, to communicate with themselves, to get feedback and to visualise in a single space. These projects are developed in very isolated places, places far from urban areas, very disadvantaged areas of society, and therefore they develop with factors that are often opposed. Lazos provides a way for these projects to be visualised and for these communities to understand that they are not alone. There are many projects at the Latin American level that want to work using art as a form of social inclusion. But still, no artistic value is given to these activities.

Nuevas Formas worked with young people, both the students and the teachers. The adolescent and young adult group are the most active social group, their bodies are malleable and they are multipliers, spreading information to all other social groups in a community. They access the information easily and pass it on just as easily. But for Atempo Danza it is important that young people value their traditions and not spend all their time with video games. This is why it is essential for Atempo Danza to provide other options for how they can spend their time. Also for young people there is a very big gap between the rural and the urban, between the traditional and the new; hence the reason for the emphasis on creating a connection between the traditional and the modern. Atempo Danza looked for ways that they could work the daily customs and traditions of a community into contemporary dance, while at the same time raise awareness of the concept of social inclusion within the community.

As Lazos is made up of many different projects, one of their objectives is to network online, joined together if not by physical space, then by cyber space. To achieve this goal, they have an online workshop to network the happenings of the group and project themselves to the world. Working online is “a way to realize our goals”, according to Ana Cecilia. Lazos has sought support from a sociologist who has helped them to diagnose problems and obtain a clearer idea of what methodology they should be using.

“All of these projects and festivals are a process, a process that has already produced results”.As Ana Cecilia says “One can already see the interest and new initiatives which are a part of this process. This idea of social inclusion through dance can grow and maybe insert itself into cultural politics. Which is the main objective.”

Women Have Taken the Streets

A surprising thing when looking at the streets of Cochabamba is the amount of women that have taken the streets as spaces to unfold their daily activities. The streets are spaces to work, raise children, they provide a network for social relationships and a place to construct their own political identities. As a result of the increasing poverty levels, in recent years, women have begun to leave their neighborhoods and have taken to the streets in order to undertake their business activities, to think up and to create a source of income for their families by themselves. In

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