Monday, November 7, 2011

La Tarumba!

Near the very end of our stay in Lima Willy, Elba, Toya, and Orlando invited us to the La Tarumba circus show in the southern district of Chorrillos.

La Tarumba is a locally developed circus that seeks -and manages- to combine circus with music, song, and dance.  Among its directors and performers, for example, they count Amador "Chebo" Ballumbrosio, of the famous musical family from the city of El Carmen.  Ballumbrosio, son of his much-admired namesake, brings an Afro-Peruvian musical sensitivity and rythm to La Tarumba.   

La Tarumba started in the 1980s as street performers.  In the early 1990s they managed to establish an HQ in a house in Miraflores, and in 2003 they were able to purchase their tent.   According to their website they felt at  then that they were finally "a real circus", and committed themselves to putting on a show a year, every year.

So far, they've kept their word.

This year's installment was Quijote, based, of course, on  the story of Don Quixote de la Mancha written by Miguel de Cervantes.  It is a story that is well-known in Latin America, Cervantes holding a similar place in Spanish-language literature as Shakespeare does in English.   Moreover, Quijote's tenacity of struggle against all odds and his daring to dream of a better world resonate with Latin American's own history of struggle.

The windmill scene

La Tarumba did a wonderful job at creatively bringing the elements of the story to life in the circus ring

Don Quijote
By the end, the audience was visibly moved by the show and Quijote's longing for love and a better world.  It really was quite moving and sad, but La Tarumba was not about to let people leave on a down note:  Ballumbrosio led the musical ensemble in a rousing number drawn from traditional Afro-Peruvian music celebrating the harvest and celebrating life.

This was my second time attending a La Tarumba show, as I had also gone with Willy and Elba during last year's season.   I loved the show each time.   I do have a hard time, however, deciding whether first place in the audience's hearts is taken by Ballumbrosio and the musical ensemble, or by La Tarumba's troupe of trained horses.