Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Dance of the Yumbos from Tulipe

The Yumbos were a pre-Incan civilisation in Ecuador dating from around 800AD until the Spanish started coughing and sneezing in their vicinity.
They were primarily a peaceful bunch of traders who lugged goods back and forth from Quito to the coast.
Tulipe is the ceremonial centre of the Yumbos civilisation and an important astrological observatory. It was recovered archaeologically a decade ago. When Lucy was conducting a health survey in the area, the ruins of Tulipe were in the back garden of a shop owner.
Apparently back then it looked like a sunken swimming pool filled with overgrown weeds. These days it looks like a sunken swimming pool cleared of overgrown weeds.
We were in Tulipe to film the Dance of the Yumbos, performed by the youth dance group of the Alli Causai Hospital.
Here's what we filmed...



Shooting took place over two days - the second of which was baking hot.
Not a lot is known about the Yumbos - most especially how they might have danced - so it's necessary to exercise some creative licence.
Taking a group of teenagers away on an overnight road trip in England would almost certainly spell drunkenness and high jinks - particularly considering we all ended up in a night club in Mindo. These teenagers from Ambato were all well behaved, most were largely preoccupied about the time and portion size of their next meal. I remember one remarkable scene, when a pizza restaurant was vetoed by the teenagers who were concerned it was not sufficiently satisfying.
The teenagers were all booked into a hostel in Mindo but Lucy (probably wisely) booked us (Emilia included) into a slightly more upmarket hotel.
Over dinner the bus driver, who had spent time in America, impressed the kids with his stories about his time spent in America. When he learned I was a native English speaker he delighted in conversing with me in English, the subject matter of our one-sided conversation was largely concerned with the time he had spent in America. Since I wasn't an American and was more interested in my trucha a la plancha than his stories, most of which were about America and the time he had spent there, my use was quickly exhausted and he returned to impressing the kids with his stories... about metaphysical poet John Donne and the paradoxes inherent throughout so much of his canon. Shame, I wanted to hear more about America.

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