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Dance of the Demons Captivates Chile

IN PICTURES: The Diablada or Danza de los Diablos ('Dance of the Demons') is a native dance originating from the Oruro region in Bolivia. Today, because of its beauty, it is celebrated in several countries, including Chile, where local troupes are rehearsing in anticipation of the arrival of Pope Francis.

The extravagant dance is characterized by the mask and devil suit worn by the performers and is a mixture of religious theatrical presentations.

The performance derives from rituals first brought from Spain combined with Andean religious ceremonies, such as the Llama llama dance in honor of the Uru god Tiw (protector of mines, lakes, and rivers), along with the Aymaran miners' ritual to Anchanchu (a demon spirit of caves and other isolated places in Bolivia and Peru).

On Wednesday, ahead of Pope Francis' arrival in Iquique in Chile, local Diablada performers honed their craft on the streets in anticipation of the pontiff's highly publicized visit.

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A dancer from the Diablada group performs a day before the arrival of Pope Francis in Iquique, Chile, January 17.
A dancer from the Diablada group performs a day before the arrival of Pope Francis in Iquique, Chile, January 17. Photo:REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
The dance is known as Puno in Peru, and La Tirana in Chile. It is not uncommon for the ritual to be used as a symbol for Indigenous cultural identity.
The dance is known as Puno in Peru, and La Tirana in Chile. It is not uncommon for the ritual to be used as a symbol for Indigenous cultural identity. Photo:REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
A woman from the Bolivian community in Iquique takes a break after a Diablada performance before the arrival of Pope Francis. The earliest record of the Diablada dates to pre-Hispanic times and the dance of "Llama llama" in worship of the Uru god Tiw.
A woman from the Bolivian community in Iquique takes a break after a Diablada performance before the arrival of Pope Francis. The earliest record of the Diablada dates to pre-Hispanic times and the dance of "Llama llama" in worship of the Uru god Tiw. Photo:REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
A woman from the Bolivian community in Iquique. Chile
A woman from the Bolivian community in Iquique. Chile's first Diablada squad was founded in the city by Gregorio Ordenes in 1956 under the name of Primera Diablada Servidores Virgen del Carmen, after the Bolivian squad Diablada Ferroviaria visited that year's festival. Photo:REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
A woman stands next to the traditional "Virgen del Carmen" during a performance of the Diablada spectacular.
A woman stands next to the traditional "Virgen del Carmen" during a performance of the Diablada spectacular. Photo:REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
A man wears a pendant bearing the traditional "Virgen del Carmen." The sanctuary of the Virgin of Carmen was built in the region in the year 1540 and since then the festival is celebrated annually in her honour with different dances.
A man wears a pendant bearing the traditional "Virgen del Carmen." The sanctuary of the Virgin of Carmen was built in the region in the year 1540 and since then the festival is celebrated annually in her honour with different dances. Photo:REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
Members of Iquique
Members of Iquique's Diablada folkloric group take a much-needed break after a rousing rehearsal. Photo:REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
A dancer from the Diablada group poses for a picture. The dance is a key feature of the Fiesta de La Tirana, 84km from the city of Iquique. Tirana
A dancer from the Diablada group poses for a picture. The dance is a key feature of the Fiesta de La Tirana, 84km from the city of Iquique. Tirana's population of less than 400 swells during the annual festivities, between 12 and 16 July, to nearly 120,000. Photo:REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
In its original form, the dance was performed to accompany a band of Sikuris, which were a group of musicians playing the Siku. Nowadays, the Diablada is accompanied by band and orchestra.
In its original form, the dance was performed to accompany a band of Sikuris, which were a group of musicians playing the Siku. Nowadays, the Diablada is accompanied by band and orchestra. Photo:REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
During the dance, angels and demons are constantly moving around while forming somewhat complex figures such as crosses and circles. This confrontation between the two sides is eclipsed when Saint Michael appears, battles, and defeats the Devil.
During the dance, angels and demons are constantly moving around while forming somewhat complex figures such as crosses and circles. This confrontation between the two sides is eclipsed when Saint Michael appears, battles, and defeats the Devil. Photo:REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
Published 17 January 2018
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