Weekend shows feature country’s heritage dance

Swing criollo has evolved from being considered a vulgar dance fit only for low-class individuals to being enthroned as an example of the nation’s cultural heritage.

Swing criollo comes from the tradition of the pre-World War II big band performances and jitterbug with the addition of Latin cumbia. In Costa Rica, historians note that swing originally was banned for being too vulgar. However, swing criollo has taken its place with other Latin dances. Examples on Internet videos show techniques far more athletic than salsa and at twice the speed.

The primary missionary of swing criollo is  Ligia Torijano, who with her La Cuna del Swing has taken the dance to other countries, including the United States.

The group plans two nights, Friday and Saturday, of a show called “Permiso… viene el Swing,” which suggests that the dance was not permitted in many locations as late as the 1960s. In fact, there were signs specifically saying that.

Until it closed in 2009, the Salón Karymar Discoteque dance hall in Guadalupe was the heart of the swing movement.

The presentation this weekend will be in the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar on Avenida 2 with 25 dancers, three singers, an actor and

the  Banda de Conciertos de Guanacaste. Show time is 7:30 p.m.

The presentation is designed to trace the history of the dance. Then-president Laura Chinchilla formally designated the dance as the country’s cultural heritage in 2011.

The Guanacaste concert band also is celebrating its 145th anniversary this weekend. A special concert is planned Sunday in the Parque de Cañas. The event also celebrates the 137th anniversary of the canton.

The band was founded in 1870 as the Banda Militar de Liberia, The musical organization specializes in keeping alive the traditions of Guanacaste. With the band Sunday for the 5 p.m. concert will be  Los Chicos del Barrio, a group that includes a marimba.chicos070715

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