Metamorfosis Documentation Project

Trancebarroco

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The title of this video is made up from the Spanish words trance and barroco (baroque); trance in Spanish as in English means rapture but in Spanish it can also, in context, mean battle or impasse. The title translates as: "baroque dance of rapture" and at the same time "baroque impasse".

The globalization of pop culture is rapidly influencing and changing the growing populations of indigenous / aboriginal, modern urban peoples around the world. Latin America is not an exception, and in the highly sophisticated cultures of the Andes new hybrids are emerging due to the exposure of the regional cultures to contemporary global pop culture.

No matter what our perception of wrestling might be, and regardless of its ancient and ritual-related history, this form of wrestling emerging from the indigenous "barrio / metropolis" of El Alto, La Paz, Bolivia is without any doubt one such hybrid. Although entertainment is the main purpose of this spectacle, and there is obviously no pretension of ritual by the participants, and no understanding of it as such by the people of Bolivia or me, as an observer; the highly significant fact is that codified into this spectacle are ancient sacrificial rituals (still being practiced) in which men as well as women battle one another for the sole purpose of shedding blood to feed Mother Earth (Pachamama), thus assuring a good and plentiful harvest.

In other words, women in traditional clothing in hand to hand combat have deep roots in the indigenous and mestizo cultures of the Andes. Far removed from any altruistic motivation, and in light of the participation of women in the ancient rituals; this modern battle staged for entertainment and profit does not seem odd, misplaced, inappropriate or politically incorrect. The Cholita (urban indigenous woman) Wrestling phenomenon adds another element to this culture born of the blending of Native American and European cultures and precipitated almost half a millennium ago by the conquest of America. The Latin American Baroque was the first manifestation of this fusion of cultures, and from those violent and oppressing beginnings a complex post-colonial culture today continues to transform in the post-modern global society.

Vivan las Cholitas Luchadoras.

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