Polka (polka). Styles and choreographic variations
It’s danced in pairs by linking arms; the pairs can unlock momentarily
during the dance, for a toreo o to make figures.
The Paraguayan polka is danced, in ballrooms and on the village dance
floors, or under the shades of the houses, in the country; more there
than in the cities. There was an era in which it was considered to
expulse the polka of the ballrooms, just like the guaranies from the
city. But the feeling of the village people was stronger, the immense
spiritual force of our music and of our dances, conquered the snobbism
There are several ways of dancing the Paraguayan polka. The variations
are in the form or style in the choreography o figures in which it
is used in the dance.
The way or style to dance:
1. Polca syryry o corrida, deslizada:
it is danced in a straight line dragging the feet, with the legs almost
rigid. This form of dancing is not performed anymore.
2. Polca popó: jeroky popó: jumping dance or polka.
It is danced giving small jumps, accompanied with the rhythm; it is
danced with faster and joyful music.
3. Polca jekutú o clavada: It is danced marking the step, rhythm
in the place, with no displacement or with very little. The three
movements are marked like this: the first is a step forward accompanied
with the inclination of the body towards the front; in the second
movement is marked with the pace in the place itself; in the third
you go step backward that was advanced in the first;
4. Polca valseada: It is danced with a light and swift balance of
the body, like the waltz.
The Chopi: It’s also called Santa Fé or cielito Santa
Fé or cielito chopi. The origins of these names are unknown.
The Chopi is a kind of bird, Cacierus Chrysopterus and Acptus, chopi,
bird of elegant conduct, of black feathers on the body, and yellow
and red feathers on the chest.
It’s the dance with the most appreciated grouping and danced
in Paraguay; it’s a tournament of grace, agility and gracefulness,
which fills a party with enthusiasm and uproar.
It has its own music. Formerly, the chopi and the Santa Fe had different
music, the chopi was faster and the Santa Fe was slower. It was believed
that there were two versions of the Chopi and the Santa Fe. It is
danced with typical costumes, in three pairs, with one of the boys
acting as the director, for the voices of command when they switch
figures. The initial part of the dance is to be front to front, in
a distance of three to four meters (according to the size of the place),
to one of the sides two boys and a girl in the middle, in the front
two girls and a boy in the center.
La galopa. The dance of the galoperas
We refer to the galopa as music,
a fast polka, very vivid and happy, that is danced in link pairs,
like the polka.
The galopa serves to dance the dance of the galoperas, also called
danza de las raidas poti, because it is danced by the galoperas, dressed
up women to the raida poti (that dresses up poorly, humble, with no
luxury, but clean). The feast of the galopa is the manifestation o
pagan component in popular feasts or patrons they have, also, the
religious component, and that comes from the Colonia.
It’s a feast that is done especially in the days of San Blas,
Patron of Paraguay (February 3), of the Virgin of Caacupe (December
8), of San Lorenzo (August 10), of the Virgin of Rosario (October
3), and on the day of the Virgin of the Mercedes (September 24).
Galopa is a dance only for girls, of all ages, individual, although
many participate, with not fit choreography, moving with the hands
on the dress, the figures can be improvised (enlaces, cadenas, toreos):
the basic movement is the advancement with rotation or turn of the
body from one side to the other.
The galoperas have a jar with water or any drink in it on their heads,
balanced with grace and equilibrium. In this dance, promeseras intervene
to dance to pay their promises made to the Saint or the holy patron,
while they dance or when they finish dancing, they offer the audience
what they have in the jar.
The dance of the jars
It might be one of the recent dances,
there is no bibliographic reference, y it possibly originated from
the dance of the galoperas.
A dance exclusively for women, it can be danced individual collective,
although many can dance it. There is reference that it was also danced
They have the same motives as the dance of the galoperas (popular
feast y feast for the patrons), the costume is the same, of the raida
poti, and on the head a bottle, always well balanced despite the variations
of the figures in the choreography; the bottle is decorated putting
flowers in the bottle, or ribbons of different colors with the three
colors of our flag (red, white, and blue).
Since it has no proper music it was dance with any polka or galopa;
today it is danced with the song “galopera” of Mauricio
Cardozo Ocampo. It doesn’t have a fit choreography, but the
ones who dance it do it with funny movements of the arms, swinging
of the skirt and do diverse choreographic figures, like spins, toreo,
Source: Gonzalez Torres, Dionisio M. “Danzas Paraguayas.”
Folklore Del Paraguay. Editora Litocolor SRL: Asunción,1995.