By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
The llaqtamaqta or llaqta maqta (in quechua, "village young boy") is a dance from the department of Ayacucho (Peru), especially from the villages of the province of Lucanas. It can also be found in the province of La Mar (i.e. in the locality of Chungui) and in some neighbouring places in the department of Apurímac, though with different meanings. Inherited from the pre-Hispanic Chanka culture it is usually performed at Christmas time and Carnival time, though it can also be displayed at any other time of the year. As a matter of fact, in the early days the dance used to be performed during the wasi qispiy (roofing of the house), the warmi urquy (asking for the bride's hand in marriage), the cruz apaykuku (delivery of the cross), harvesting time or the chuño elaboration process (ancient tradition of potato preservation in the Andes).
At present, the llaqtamaqta performed in the province of La Mar has a carnival- and warlike style, while in the province of Lucanas it has much to do with love and courtship.
The main characters taking part in the dance are the llaqta pasñas (in Quechua, "village young girls"), richly dressed, and the maqtas ("young boys") themselves, who dance vigorously as they sing and play different instruments (notched flutes, single-row panpipes, violins, guitars). The performance also includes the takiq ("female singers"), usually widows and single mothers singing qarawis (improvised lyrical ballads, sung in Quechua).
Local musical genres associated to the llaqtamaqta are the ayra or chutu usu (similar to the huayno ayacuchano, though slow and melancholic), the araskaska (a type of trote, with lively choreographies and games) and the puma tusuy (slow singing to the accompaniment of notched flutes).
The maqta usually wears a white hat with ribbons and flowers, a ch'ullu (Andean pointed bonnet or cap of coloured wool), a cream-coloured skirt, a colourful poncho, two chumpis (colourful sashes), a pair of black trousers, long wool socks and ushutas (shoes cut from cowhide and shaped to the foot). Women wear a white wool hat, a blanket, a jacket, an apron, a skirt, two chumpis, long socks and ushutas.
Nowadays the llaqtamaqta is a dance with great appeal to folklore schools and academies in Peru.
Picture 01. Llaqta maqta of Ayacucho.
Video 01. "Chungui mayu", music accompanying the llaqta maqta of Chungui.
Video 02. "Corralito yana puyo", music accompanying the llaqta maqta of Chungui.
Video 03. "Warqaqasa ipu para", music accompanying the llaqta maqta of Chungui.