Llamerada is one of the oldest dances of the bolivian folklore; it belongs to the
Aymara nation in its origins. Its original name is "karuwani".
Its link with the llama and the auchenics in general dates back to the
pre-agriculture epoch, over forty centuries ago. Since those times, the llama
gives food, transport and cover. That is why it appears painted in caves and
ceramics and sculpted in stone.
For many pre-colombian cultures, dance was art and magic, for the dancing to be
produced in reality; is why the llama herder dancers would imitate the scenes of
herding in order to keep around the herd.
The llama herder dancing has changed in its magic sense and innovations were
imposed in the choreography, costumes, participants and music. However, it has
not stopped representing the relationship between the Andean man and the
The Andean round - Up
According to tradition, this dance goes back to a human fence around the auchenid
herds people would push the animals to press together into a ring until they
would reach them with their hands. The llamas, alpacas, vicuņas caught were
sheared; the old or injured animals would become food stuff. The round up
finished, the "huilancha"or the sacrifice of the propitiatory llama was made,
whose blood was offered to gods.
Postilions and herders
According to another tradition, it recalls the Incan postilions in charge of
herding the auchenids. It also rememorates the herders of colonial Potosi.
Under the current interpretation, it is a mimicking dance, because it tries to
imitate the daily life of the herders and those of the shepherds; but it also
represents the virtual linking with the llama, that is why the costume of the
dancers is elegant and it recovers old signs of power.
Women and Costume
In most of our dances, women partaking just since three decades ago, but in the
llama herder dance a woman are in since ancient times, because the position tasks
or that of the herders to Potosi was family activities.
The attire is a mixture of ancient elements, worn by the Aymara since
pre-colombian and colonial times until the XIX century, with parts of the current
The hat is the most typical; it is square and embroidered with teaseling made of
woolen cloth; it recalls the hat that the Aymara authorities would wear.
The man wears a woolen shirt, woolen cloth or silken cloth; the short woolen
cloth pants a bit down under the knees; woolen string socks; typical sandals; a
colorful bundling square piece tied up on his chest; a chumpi or a multicolor
sash that surrounds his waist; a rope hopped in a counter sense of that of the
bundling piece. In the most traditional llameradas, men also wear a plaster mask
with the lips gathered in a whistling attitude.
Men and women hold a sling or korawa in their right hand, a symbol of the
shepherds and llama drivers, the main part of the choreography and of the
clothing. Most of the "steps" include the movement of the sling pretending
the driving or the throwing of stones.
The women wear one or more wide long polleras (typical kinds of skirts); under
the polleras are one or more underskirts or mancanchas made of white fabric; a
blouse, and on it a crossed bundling piece.
Colors have changed. The traditional black color is worn by the tatalas (head
drivers); the group, and this is one of the innovations wears differing colors
according to the fraternity and according to the festivity.