Bolivian Aymara Dance
History of the Tinku
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
The Two Tinkus
There are two type of Tinkus--The ritualistic one involving darker costumes, bloodshed, and sacrifice, and the festive one involving colorful outfits and fake fights.
For the Tinku, men generally wear bright colored costumes called monteras, decorated with long, colorful feathers. Women wear long embroidered skirts and colorful tops. Their costumes are completed by extravagant hats, painted and decorated with various long and colorful feathers and ribbons. Men and women wear walking sandals so they can move and jump easily.
The dance is performed in a crouching stance, bending at the waist. Arms are thrown out and there are various kicks, while the performers move in circles following the beat of the drum. Every jump from one foot to the next is followed by a hard stomp and a thrown fist to signify the violence from the ceremonial tinku. Many times the dancers will hold basic and traditional instruments in their hands that they will use as they stomp, just to add more noise for a greater effect.