Stilting in Colombia

The day finally arrived to travel to Colombia where we were met at the airport and spent the night in Bogota before heading west on a 12 hour coach journey to Carmen de Viboral where I reside at present. Carmen is a small town surrounded by lush green mountains, children flying kites, horse carts line the streets and each shop is rammed full of tropical fruit.

We are in full flow of the cultural stilt exchange with Colombian stilt company Nemcatacoa. Living and training together we are forming close bonds which are reflected in our work. Each day we train at a local dance studio, learning each others vocabularies and devising new movement. Though both companies use the same medium of stilts, the work and training methods are very different. I am really enjoying learning from each company and being able to contribute my skills and knowledge. Each week we perform short choreographed and improvised scores we have created as an offering for the local community of Carmen de Viboral.

There are an array of cultures within the group, most predominately Colombian and North American. Living in Colombia I am experiencing the culture first hand; it is so far removed from life in the United Kingdom. We are having regular discussions about the different cultures present and using the material to produce stilt movement and theme. The social, economical and political dilemmas each of us contend with are so different; a realisation I have never had to comprehend so head on before.

As well as the cultural collaboration, Carpetbag Brigade are also performing the new stilt show ‘Callings’. We have performed it twice for Carmen de Viboral. Next week we will be working on the production before we leave this town and begin touring.

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