The dance troupe named Conjunto Danzantes de Tijeras Ayacucho-Peru; whether it is well-known in Ayacucho and its surroundings; the kind of performance it is known for; member selection process; whether there is evidence that this or other performing groups have come under scrutiny by the authorities for alleged collusion with the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso); whether the group performed at the Festive Earth Society festival in London, Cambridge, Hamilton and Toronto, Canada (December 2003) [PER42232.E]

The following information was provided in 8 December 2003 correspondence from the Executive Director of the Toronto-based Festive Earth Society (FES). The Director stated that the FES had "invited 'Conjunto Danzantes de Tijeras Ayacucho-Peru' to perform in Toronto in September 2001." Moreover, while the FES facilitated the Peruvian group's performances in the Ontarian municipalities named above, the Director noted that the FES was only responsible for producing the group's show in Toronto. Subsequently, the net proceeds from the FES performance were donated to the "American Red Cross to assist the earthquake victims in Peru."

The Director also mentioned that the troupe's tour manager at the time was Jose Orozco. In an attached copy of the FES invitation letter addressed to the Ayacucho-Peru Scissors Danzaq Ensemble, the name of the Director, Hector Bautista Huaman, as well as those of the musicians and dancers is listed. In addition, according to the invitation letter, the Ayacucho-Peru Scissors Danzaq Ensemble was invited to Ontario, Canada from 24 August to 28 September 2001 to perform at "Festivals in London, Cambridge and Hamilton and in Toronto at Northrope Frye Theatre on Thursday and Saturday, September 20 and 22 at 8 pm."

Information about whether this group or other performing groups have come under scrutiny by the authorities for alleged collusion with the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, the following provides information about a dance troupe named "Los Danzaq de Ayacucho" and a cultural dance spectacle called the Scissors Dance (Danza de la Tijera).

Sources have reported that the Scissors Dance (Danza de la Tijeras) is a traditional folk performance that originated in the central and southern Andes highland regions of Peru (AP 4 Oct. 2003; Perutravels.net n.d.; Folkgame n.d.). An October 2003 Associated Press (AP) article noted that "[i]n a nation rich in traditional folk dances, scissors dancing is one of the stranger examples, a mix of pre-Columbian spiritualism and gross-out spectacle that evolved from the conflict between Christianity and Indian ways" (4 Oct. 2003). According to Folkgame, a Website dedicated to the International Children's Folklore & Folkgame Festival in I-Lan County, Taiwan, the Scissors Dance is customarily performed on 1 November, the "Day of the Dead" (Dia de los Muertos) and is steeped in over one hundred years of tradition (n.d.). The Peru Travel Website provided the following description of the Scissors Dance:

The danzaq, the dancers, are shrouded in mystery. In a show of force and elasticity, these men put their dexterity to the test with a series of gymnastic leaps to the strains of harp and violin.
Priests in colonial times claimed the dancers had made a pact with the Devil, because of the surprising feats they performed. These fakir-like stunts, called atipanakuy, include sword-swallowing, sticking pins through their facial skin, eating insects, toads and snakes.
The main instrument played to accompany the dance is the pair of scissors, made up of two independent sheets of metal around 25 cm long and which together form the shape of a pair of round-edged scissors (n.d.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Associated Press (AP). 4 October 2003. Drew Benson. "Scissors Dancing in Peru Mixes Andean Spirituality with Spectacle." http://listas.rcp.net.pe/pipermail/noticias/2003-October/005785.html [Accessed 4 Dec. 2003]

Festive Earth Society (FES), Toronto. 8 December 2003. Correspondence with Executive Director.

Folkgame. 2000. "2000 I-Lan International Children's Folklore & Folkgame FestivalBasic Regulation & Information for Performing Group." http://www.folkgame.org.tw/2000/en/ [Accessed 9 Dec. 2003]

____. n.d. "Peru - Agrupacion Cultural Los Danzaq de Ayacucho Danzantes de Tijeras del Peru." http://www.folkgame.org.tw/english/Americas03.htm [Accessed 2 Dec. 2003]

Perutravels.net. n.d. "Culture, Arts and Traditions in Peru." http://www.perutravels.net/peru_culture_arts_traditions/dances_instruments_peru/scissors_dancers.htm [Accessed 4 Dec. 2003]

Attachment


Festive Earth Society (FES), Toronto. 3 August 2001. Correspondence from Executive Director to the Director of the Ayacucho-Peru Scissors Danzaq Ensemble. (1 page)

Additional Sources Consulted


IRB databases

World News Connection/Dialog

Internet sites:

Amnesty International

Amigos de la Villa [Villa el Salvador, Lima]

Caretas [Lima]

Country Reports 2002

Freedom House

Human Rights Watch

El Peruano [Lima]

Peru, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores

La Republica [Lima]

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