Canoafolk - Cultures joined by dance

A canoe is a boat driven by human strength. It can transport stories, knowledge and traditions that connect people beyond shores. This metaphor lies in the heart of Canoafolks motivation and goal: to build a bridge of intercultural exchange between distant cultures such as the German and the Colombian.

Canoafolk is a group integrated by young people of different nationalities that promotes intercultural exchange through the art of the dance. 

Colombia is a country frequently associated with war and drug trafficking. One of Canoafolks main objectives is to transform and update this image by showing the cultural and folkloric richness of this beautiful country. 

On this page you will find all the dances, activities and services that our group has to offer.

 

Who we are

"Folkloric dance has been my passion since I can remember. I started my career as a monitor in the folkloric group of the University of Cartagena (Colombia) and went on to work as a dancer in the groups of "Calenda de Getsemani" and "Ekobios". In Germany I have also worked as a choreographer for the dance group "Colombia Carnaval". 

 

The experience of living in Germany has given me the opportunity to reaffirm my identity and the wish to pass on my knowledge to the ones interested in learning"

 

Rocio Klug Correa

Director of Canoafolk

 

Our mission

 

To share the richness of Colombia’s dance culture in Europe.

 

Our vision

 

To become the main reference point regarding Colombia’s dance culture and folklore in Germany and Europe. To be drivers of intercultural exchange and to promote other aspects of the Colombian culture such as gastronomy, literature, cinema and tourism.

 

 Our general objective

 

We teach and share Colombia’s traditional dances with different audiences. By doing this we hope to promote the intercultural exchange between people from different nationalities. 

 

Specific objectives

 

 

  • We teach Colombia’s traditional dances in beginner as well as advanced courses. 
  • We participate in cultural activities, festivals and events in Germany and Europe.
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Canoafolks dances

 

The richness of Colombia’s traditional dances can be traced back to its tri-ethnical background: the fusion of musical cultures of African, Indian and European nations. Its mayor exponent is the "Cumbia", a rhythm that joins African drums, indigenous flutes and garments used by the Spanish aristocracy during colonial times. 

 

The "Cumbia" dance symbolizes the African strength and fire, the European elegance and the Indian spirituality. At the moment, our repertoire includes folkloric dances from both the pacific as well as the Caribbean coasts of Colombia. We are looking to include choreographies from the Andean region as well as the eastern plains in the near future.

 

 

All garments are made in Berlin. Some materials and accessories are imported from Colombia.

 

Chocoan "Jota"

 

The chocoan "Jota" is an adaptation from the Spanish "Jota", to which a certain joy and agility was given by African nations. It is a dance of complex and various figures interpreted by a minimum of 4 couples that salute and give each other joyful exclamations while dancing. Women carry turbans on their heads and are bear-footed, resembling the garments of African slaves. 

 

"Merecumbe"

 

The "Merecumbe" is a Colombian musical style conceived by Francisco "Pacho" Galan around the fifties, which combines "Cumbia" with the Colombian "Merengue". It is a ballroom dance, something that can be appreciated in the elegant and slender outfits of the dancers. This rhythm came to be so popular that it was quickly spread throughout whole Latin America.

 

The dance of the Faroto Indians

 

This dance stems from the Indian tribes located along the coasts of the Magdalena River: The Faroto or braid Indians.

 

Couples dance around a pole attached to laces which are braided in a complex pattern and later on unbraided in the same way in order to wind up at the starting point. This dance is a tribute to the exquisite and complex arts and crafts of Colombia’s indigenous tribes. 

 

Cumbia

 

"Cumbia" is one of the most popular rhythms in Latin America. In Canoafolk we interpret the most ancient variant, which originates from Colombia’s Caribic coast.

 

The Cumbia dance merges the cheerful and impetuous African drums with the melancholic "Gaita", a type of flute original from the Kuna and Kogui Indian tribes. 

 

A clear Spanish influence can be appreciated in the garments worn by the dancers: the women wear long skirts, laces and floral headpieces.

 

Currulao

 

The "Currulao" is one of the most representative dances of the Afro-Colombian communities from the pacific coast. It is the rhythm that most faithfully represents the heritage of the enslaved African ethnic groups that worked the mines.

The dance embodies a ritual in which the woman elegantly refuses the courtship attempts of her partner. The most representative instrument played for this dance is the Marimba from Chonta.

 

Puya Vallenata

 

The music played for the Puya Vallenata is usually interpreted by an accordion and it is distinguished by its fast and joyful character. 

The dance itself consists on linear movements, where women follow one after the other. The hands are placed at chest-high and the hips and legs move swift and firmly. This makes the Puya a very vibrant dance, which is guaranteed to catch your eye.

 

Fandango

 

The Fandango originates from Colombia’s northern coast. It takes only the name from the Spanish dance "Fandanguillos". People also used to call "Fandango" the places were parties took place. They were loud and joyful evenings were the dancing never stopped. 

 

Activities

 

Free folkloric dance lessons

 

We meet every weekend at the Bethanienhaus and in the "TheaterSpielraum" - right in the heart of Berlin- in Kreuzberg, in order to get to know, practice and master our knowledge on Colombian folkloric rhythms. 

 

In the summer we also rehearse outdoors. The classes are free of charge but a small contribution that covers the rent of the location is expected. We welcome beginners as well as advanced dancers. In case you want to join you are most welcome to write us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or our facebook account: Facebook/ Canoafolk.

 

Urban Workshops

 

Aside from Colombian folkloric dances, we also offer salsa, champeta and hiphop workshops, among others. Experts in each gender dictate the classes.

 

Workshops for kids

 

We teach the Colombian culture to kids of different ages through dancing and singing. We see this workshop as one of the most gratifying activities that our group has to offer, since we are able to reach kids that reside in Germany and that otherwise would hardly come in contact with the richness of the Colombian culture. 

 

Live cultural presentations

 

We are always glad to take part in cultural events such as festivals, carnivals and national holidays. In the summer of 2016 we represented Colombia at the Carnival of Cultures in Berlin, an event that gathers around 800 thousand people each year.

 

Private parties

 

We at Canoafolk have introduced the concept of the "Hora Loca" or "Crazy hour" in Germany, which consists in surprisingly appearing at a party wearing costumes masks and therefore recreating a small Colombian carnival. Nobody can stay seated amidst the joy and the energy of the music and dancers!

 

The "Crazy hour" during a wedding

 

Corporate events

 

You can enrich your corporate events with Canoafolks repertoire: from the elegance of the Merecumbe from the 50s, to the explosive energy of the Jota.

 

Renting and manufacturing of folkloric wardrobes

 

In order to guarantee the sustainability of Canoafolk, we are open to any request that requires the renting or manufacturing of folkloric wardrobe

 

Contact