Bolivian Aymara Dance

Tinku Dancing

History of the Tinku

Tinku dancing, a Bolivian Aymara tradition, began as a form of ritualistic combat. During this dance, men and women from different communities will meet and begin the festivities by dancing. The women will then form circles and begin chanting while the men proceed to 'fight' each other.

The Bolivian tradition began with the indigenous belief in Pachamama, or Mother Nature. The combat is in praise of Pachamama, and any blood shed throughout the fighting is considered a sacrifice, in hopes of a fruitful harvest and fertility. The brawls are also considered a means of release of frustration and anger between the separate communities.

The Festive Tinku, a much more pleasant experience than a ceremonial tinku, has many differences. It has been accepted as a cultural dance in the whole nation of Bolivia. Tinku music has a loud constant drum beat to give it a native warlike feel, while Charangos, guitars, and panpipes play melodies. The dancers perform with combat like movements, following the heavy beat of the drum.Tinkus usually last two to three days.

Large Tinkus are held in Potosi during the first few weeks of May