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PERUVIAN PAGAN CARNIVAL IN QUEENS

The Pachamama Peruvian Arts (PPA) presented their end-of-semester final event at P.S. 212, Jackson Heights, “Carnavaleando,” a musical carnival scene in which the students performed what they learned from traditional Peruvian music, dance and choir.

The PPA has been offering classes since January 2004.

“Each event that we have at the end of the classes are dedicated to certain subjects,” said Luz Pereira, PPA executive director. “February in Lima and in the entire nation, it is the month of carnivals, which is why we called it, Carnavaleando, to learn about creole music and dance.”

Pereira also explained, “Pachamama” means motherland in the Quechuan language.

A night of laughter, rhythm and movement exuded from the auditorium, as the students ranging from ages 7 to 17 demonstrated their artistic skills, together with their master instructors on Friday, February 11.

The children’s choir group sang a mosaic of ballads and paid homage to Peruvian singer and composer, Chabuca Granda, by singing, “La flor de la canela.”

The event also showcased the thump-bam-boom beats, of “el cajon,” an Afro-Peruvian musical instrument shaped like a wooden box, performed by the children.

“Come, have fun, learn to play an instrument and about the traditions of a country,” said cajon instructor, Hector Morales.

Family member of one of the student performers, Ecuadorian-born Blanca Baquero said, “It is incredible to see all the young children sing and dance, and to see how the community unites.”

The dancers presented a traditional Peruvian dance from the north called “marinera norteña” and introduced a special style of dance known as “zapateado,” a kind of tap dancing. The adult dancers also showcased the Afro-Peruvian dance, “festejo,” performed by couples, but avoiding physical contact.

“I am very proud,” said Brazilian-born Fatima Jimenez, parent of a student zapateador. “It is a great emotion, because my daughter has put her all.”

Also performed by the students was traditional Andean music with the musical instrument, the “quena,” an open-ended notch flute.

“The children of Pachamama are the children of the future,” said Afro-Peruvian dance instructor, Marcos Napa. “They in turn will have to teach.”

Spring classes are scheduled to begin March 4 to June 24. For more information, visit https://www.ctmd.org (Community Cultural Initiatives) or call 212-571-1555.

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