Venezuela Viva is a vibrant and colorful musical extravaganza with spectacular dance numbers, fabulous costumes, impressive videos and sensational Caribbean and South American rhythms. 12 gorgeous dancing girls and a 10-piece band create a spectacle that tells the story of the origin and history of Venezuela from the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors 500 years ago to the present, showing how three races blended their cultures to create a truly rich and recognizably new art form.
With flamenco as a starting point, the show combines energetic zapateos, quick turns, sensual movements and dramatic crescendos. The Latin bailaoras move to the beat of Arab dance, classic flamenco, Afro-venezuelan drumming, the double rhythm of joropo (ho-roh-poh) and Caribbean salsa. The result is a new and exciting, uniquely Venezuelan show bursting with tropical energy and flamenco passion.
From the 15th century, the country was largely settled by Andalucians, who brought with them the music and movement of flamenco with its Indian, Gypsy and Arabic history. This heritage was mixed with the cultures of the indigenous people and the sub-Saharan African slaves taken to the Americas by the Spanish. Performers assimilated indigenous folk music with the fandangos, bulerias and other dances and music that came with them. This is why flamenco is Venezuelan as well as Spanish. And Venezuelans do it their own way...
"The land was already home to an indigenous people, and a century after the Spanish arrived, so did African slaves. Put the three together and you've got a recipe for conflict, first in Venezuela, now on the dancefloor" THE SCOTSMAN, UK
Around 500 years ago the Spanish conquistadors reached South American soil for the first time through Venezuela. The native indigenous people had to deal not only with the conquering ambitions of the newcomers but also with the cultural heritage they came with. One century later, African slaves arrived to this new land, and the three races would blend their fates forever. Discover the story…
There is a word in Spanish called MESTIZAJE (the closest word in English is Miscegenation) which express what Venezuela, and also Latin America, is all about. MESTIZAJE is the identity of the MESTIZO people (from the Latin mixticius for “mixed”). Technically speaking, any trace of race mixture in your blood makes you a MESTIZO. In the early stages of the colonization period in South America, the word MESTIZO was used to just refer to the mixes between the conquistadors and the indigenous people. However, nowadays the term is more widely applied to any interracial or interethnic combination. In History, two races blending their cultures have always led to rich and exciting new art forms. So three races even more.
That is what has been happening in Latin America for more than 500 years, and especially in Venezuela. If not the most, Venezuela has one of the highest levels of MESTIZAJE in the world. Like no other country, the process of race mixing in Venezuela has been particularly intense, diverse and prolific. But more important than the biological fact is the cultural repercussion. Since the time of the Spanish conquest, both through war and reconciliation, three races (black, white and indigenous) have been blending not only their blood but most importantly their cultures, their sounds, their dances, their traditions. An unprejudiced fusion that has caused in the present time the typical jovial and cheerful character of Latin American people in life and arts, always in celebration of this cross-cultural condition. A treasure everybody identifies with. A treasure that has no boundaries.
This blending process has been so uniquely even and balanced especially in Venezuela because of several historical reasons which can not be explained in this short space. The thing is that this mixed condition of three races combining their cultures in so symmetrical proportions has led to the creation of one of the most joyful, charming and complex music in the world. And the same with dance. Las Lizarraga Dance Company, the first of its kind, has condensed in a single show all the cultural legacy of these 500 years of nurturing integration. So in just 90 minutes you will see how all this happened.
"Natives, Europeans and Africans gave birth to a new culture rhythmically pulsating and rousing, lively... the self-confidence of a nation which looks with pride at its roots and goes its own way" DIE OBERBADISCHE, Germany