Wititi dance of the Colca Valley
Inscribed in 2015 (10.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
The Wititi dance of the Colca Valley is a traditional folk dance associated with the beginning of adult life. It takes the form of a courtship ritual and is typically performed by young people during religious festivities celebrated throughout the rainy season. It is danced in troupes with rows of male and female couples performing a variety of steps to the beat of a band. Female dancers wear garments finely embroidered with colourful natural motifs and distinctive hats, while male dancers wear overlapping women’s skirts, military shirts, slings and ‘strong hats’. The dance coincides with the beginning of the agricultural production cycle and symbolizes the renewal of nature and society. The dance consolidates social ties and strengthens cultural identity with villages in the Colca Valley competing to produce the best ensembles, thereby continuously renewing the dance while maintaining its traditional character. The Wititi dance of the Colca Valley is learned through direct observation by youth and children in school and at private family gatherings, such as christenings, birthdays and weddings. At the national level, folk dance ensembles perform this dance as part of their repertoires.