Wednesday, June 13, 2007

NY Times: Venezuela's Devil Dancers

Michael Stravato for The New York Times-All Rights Reserved

An interesting, but predictably produced, multimedia feature has just been published in the New York Times. It covers (rather superficially) an Afro-Venezuelan tradition in parishes near Venezuela’s Caribbean coast which has been practiced since the late 18th century. The tradition of the “Dancing Devils” has received support from President Hugo Ch├ívez’s government as it seeks to raise awareness about Venezuelan folklore and promote new forms of tourism.

In a small town south of Caracas called Yare, on the Roman Catholic feast day of Corpus Christi, the "devils" dance around the main plaza before resting at the entrance to the whitewashed church. After morning Mass, they succumb in an act of submission before the Eucharist, the representation of the body and blood of Christ in wafer and wine, before dancing throughout the town with stops for prayer at dozens of altars.

I liked the audio, but felt the photographs could've have focused much more on the dancers. I leave it to TTP readers to decide which is a better multimedia production: this one of Venezuela Dances to Devilish Beats or mine of the Dancing Monks of Prakhar. I know which is better.

Here's the background article by Simon Romero. (Registration may be required for The New York Times' features).

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