• Dance

WEICHAFE

By Ricardo Curaqueo

Chile

  • 70 minutes
  • +10 años

Ricardo Curaqueo, the creator of Malen, brings ten dancers to the stage to talk about Mapuche masculinity and the cracks in and tension surrounding it.


Weichafe comes from the concept weichan, which in Mapudungun means struggle, so a weichafe is someone involved in a struggle. This piece takes the inspirational men and women from Mapuche history’s struggles as a symbolic and historical reference point. The production gives us a contemporary body; a Mapuche body that is portrayed as a territory inhabited by colonial violence, with different weichanes revealed in the subtlest aspects of the being. Made up of Mapuche and mixed-race performers, the cast reflects theatrically on the body as a canvas for cultural and political resistance, with historic memory responsible for providing new opportunities to deconstruct Mapuche colonial history, bringing to the stage fraternal areas co-inhabited by their bodies and territories.

This is the new piece by Mapuche dancer and choreographer Ricardo Curaqueo Curiche, who made his acclaimed choreographic debut with Malen. He’s back with a multidisciplinary creative team in the continuation of a combination of actions that use dance to revitalize Mapuche identities and also give new meaning to Mapuche and mixed-race identities.

Cast and crew


Director: Ricardo Curaqueo Curiche | Performers: José Araya Véliz, Joel Inzunza Leal, Cristián Curaqueo Curiche, Javier Muñoz Jiménez, Sebastian Araya Molina, Luciano Cerda Silva, Matias Cayuqueo Cortés, Ramón Cayuqueo Cortés, Aliwen Muñoz Jiles, César Cisternas Valdés | Assistant director and playwright: Karen Carreño Rivera | Rehearsal and production assistant: Catalina Fernández Amado | Art director: Deysi Cruz Vásquez | Lighting designer: Francisco Herrera Estay | Electronic music and sound designer: Joaquín Montecinos Ortiz | Audiovisual recordings: Freddy Ibarra

De Ricardo Curaqueo

Ricardo Curaqueo

We’ll dance a thousand times over

—It’s the second part of a trilogy that began with the acclaimed Malen and will be completed by Üñümch (bird man), on which he’s already working. Curaqueo says that there’s continuity to the pieces and that the three could be shown together in a single, longer function.

—If in Malen the younger sister Ayelén was center stage, now it’s the turn of Cristián, the younger brother, who isn’t a dancer. He helps close the circle made up of the different identities that converge on the stage: Mapuche dancers, non-Mapuches, actors and a dancer who’s in the process of becoming a woman.

—It’s about Mapuche masculinity. “We want to construct a new alternative for the Mapuche body-man, different to the Western patriarchal masculinity that defines what a man is and that we all have to live with”, says the choreographer.

Mapuche dance: For the Mapuches - as well as for the majority of America’s native people - dance has a ritualistic element of harmony between man and his environment and is one of the main testimonies to the race’s world view. Even though it may appear monotonous, it has a series of different styles and forms: ioncomeu is a dance with defined head movements; in ruketu pürún, small jumps predominate; mellaaschnakm pürún is a subtle dance with defined floor movements and trafyén pürún has dancers facing each other. There are also certain styles that are more popular, such as the choique pürún or ‘ostrich dance’, which is recreational or the kollón pürún or ‘masked dance’, danced when the most popular sport among Mapuches - called palín or palitún - is played.

Contemporary dance: A dance genre that emphasizes composition rather than technique, it emerged as a reaction to classical versions and aims to satisfy the need to express yourself freely using the body. It’s a kind of dance that aims to transmit an idea, feeling or emotion, combining bodily movements from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It also incorporates elements from different genres to convey that dance is a work of art.

—Read about Weichafe in The Cultural Dance of Ricardo Curaqueo, an article published in Wikén magazine.

—Watch part of the touching ceremony in memory of Camilo Catrillanca held by the cast of Malen in October 2018 at the GAM Center.

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