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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

The Saya

Greetings from Tiquipaya, apologies for not posting this sooner! We have had so much fun getting to know our host families this week and starting our ISPs!

While in Tocana, we had the opportunity to learn about the Saya, a traditional Afro-Bolivian dance passed down through generations. Traditionally the men create a strong rhythm using drums of various sizes combined with an instrument that when played, creates a percussive sound. They are dressed in white outfits, hand embroidered by the women with colorful ribbons and stitching. Each outfit is similar, yet entirely unique. The women, similarly dressed with flowing white skirts, twirl back and forth to the beat, their effortless hip movements putting ours to shame! We jumped in wholeheartedly when invited, the boys taking up the drums and the girls stumbling through the footwork. As you can see in the video, one class was certainly not enough time to master the Saya! We greatly appreciate the community’s willingness to include us in a part of their culture that is so important to them.

Sarah and Fiona