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About this Workshop

Description

Learners will make a traditional Chilean ¨Chino¨ dancer headdress, and learn about these musician-dancers who mix Indigenous and Catholic rituals and are an important part of Chile's cultural heritage. 

“Chinos” wear colorful costumes and the headdress is an important piece of it. These musician-dancers wear them in outdoor religious festivals held in North-Central Chile’s rural and coastal communities. The Chinos (“servants” in the Indigenous Quechua language), originated shortly after the Spanish conquest of South America and continue their ritual performances to this day.

The headdress that Learners will be making is used by Chino groups in the area where I live. Its size and the ornaments it carries have special meaning to these musician-dancers.

Chinos dance while playing their drums and flutes, of pre-Colombian origin, as a way of thanking Mother Earth. They also chant about both divine and earthly themes. Their chants mix Catholic and Indigenous religious expressions.

In 2014, UNESCO declared the Chino musician-dancers as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for their importance to Chile’s diverse cultural identity.

The Chinos wear these headdresses at religious celebrations throughout the year. They dance, play their flutes and chant their improvised songs for hours on end, even when it is raining or very hot. The dances consist of a lot of squatting and jumping so it requires a lot of physical effort!  Most of these celebrations are held in rural areas where, according to Catholic traditions, miracles have taken place. Chinos also participate in June celebrations in Chile’s Pacific Coast coves in honor of Saint Peter, the Catholic Patron Saint of Fishermen.

As a visual artist, I have painted and drawn many Chino headdresses.  I have also participated with a Chino group near my home a few times, so have worn these headdresses myself. After 8 or more hours of jumping and blowing the flute I was exhausted, and I had to secure my headdress with hair clips, but I really enjoyed the experiences!

I look forward to teaching you how to make your own Chilean Chino dancer headdress!

Please note: Suitable for children 6+ with parent helping hands.

 

What You'll Need

GLOkit What's a GLOkit?

glokit

Make Your Own Chilean Chino Dancer Head Dress GLOkit

This GLOkit contains colored cardboard strips, ribbon (white, red and blue-the Chilean colors), silver cardboard with shapes to cut out drawn on back, crepe paper, a piece of tinsel, and colored paper.

GLOkit Included
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Additional Supplies

Learners will also need:

  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Scotch tape

 

Technical Requirements

You will need a device (computer or tablet) that is equipped with a camera, microphone, and speakers. For more information, please check out our Technical Requirements page.

Meet the Instructor

instructor headshot

Marcela RodriguezView Profile

As a child, I lived in southern Chile in lighthouses, as my dad was a lighthouse keeper.  At school I loved art classes, and my teachers would always say that I was a daydreamer.  While pursuing a construction degree in college, I took drawing lessons at the School of Fine Arts in Vina del Mar.  In Santiago I discovered street theater, and started working as a performance artist with TEUCO and Sociedad Anonima, two street theater troupes.  We did our own mask and prop designing.  I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1992, where I got an MFA in painting and drawing. I currently live and work in Concon, Chile. I have two amazing kids. Some people know me as Amaru, as I sign my artwork under that pseudonym. 

I started crafting when I was very young.  I loved creating things from scratch, like sewing clothes for my doll named Peta. With my sisters and friends, I would make dishes, pots and cups out of clay and dry them in the sun. We made wings out of old cardboard, and then tried to fly them by jumping off a tall ramp and falling onto a big pile of hay. Once I made myself a pair of shoes out of an old bicycle tire, and I swore I could run faster! LOLl!  As a teenager, I used some of my dad’s wood and some of my mom's yarn to make lamps for my family. While in college, I would make and sell ornamental scrolls with handwritten quotes about freedom, or with song verses by the Chilean musicians Violeta Parra and Victor Jara.

On Chile’s Independence Day, September 18th,  there is a tradition of making and flying kites that I very much enjoyed as a child. My dad used to make huge handmade kites, and we loved to help him. We used to live in the hilly city of Valparaiso, and we loved flying these kites in the strong September winds along with all the neighborhood's kids. We also made windmills out of colored papers for the same occasion. 

I believe that sharing art and crafts brings us closer to each other. It allows us to see that even though we might live in different parts of the planet, creativity connects us all. The crafts I teach have a strong connection with nature, and with a spiritual world connected to the natural world. I feel that we need to reconnect with nature, which is the wisest and most generous teacher we all share.

I really like recycling and making things out of discarded objects. I make plant pots out of discarded water bottles or milk cartons. A few years ago I made a recycling workshop for children and we made kaleidoscopes.  I also love drawing with all kinds of materials.

I love living in Chile, because I enjoy being by the sea. I love to swim in the Pacific Ocean, close to my home, even during the winter months. I also enjoy the winter celebration in the nearby fishing cove where the Chinos come to dance and play their flutes and I get to witness how old, Prehispanic traditions, are still alive today. 

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Workshop Reviews

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Interesting and fun

by Sandra on

Easy to follow instructions. The kids really enjoyed it. They did it at school on two different days. We partnered each learner with a student helper each time. All students had the chance to be a helper and to be a learner. The instructor was very patient. She gave students a lot of context and information before making the hat.

workshop poster

Make Your Own Chilean Chino Dancer Head Dress