Ayazamana - Press Profile
2011 Union Square Arts Award Recipient33-22 48th Street, Suite B
Long Island City, NY 11103
Media Contacts: Esau Chauca,Executive Coordinator
Ayazamana is dedicated to presenting and preserving the rich diversity of Ecuadorian culture. Officially incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 2009, it provides the first children’s program teaching fundamentals of Ecuadorian music and dance in New York City. The organization’s name translated from Kichwa to English means “peaceful rest of the soul.” According to the United States Census, the Ecuadorian population residing in Queens is one of the largest communities anywhere in the world.
Ayazamana offers bilingual Spanish/English instruction to children 6 to 14 years old. Professional dancers lead the classes that meet every Friday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. all year. Instruction is in two parts. The first consists of getting the children accustomed to body movement and learning teamwork by practicing dance steps to recorded music. The second incorporates the dance steps and movements into choreographies and includes an educational component teaching about Ecuadorian dance and music from the country’s distinct regions, including the coast, the Andes, and the Amazon.
Public performances bring visibility to Ecuadorian culture and build self-confidence in children. The students display what they have learned at a big annual Mothers’ Day showcase and at parades and cultural events throughout the year. The appeal of the dances, mostly performed in groups, is heightened by colorful costumes -- the pleated skirts and hand-woven scarves worn by women and the multi-hued ponchos worn by men. All costumes are sewn by hand with fabric and hats imported from Ecuador since the materials are not available in New York.
The Ayazamana professional dance company features more than 30 members including children and adults who perform dances from the different regions to highlight the country’s diversity of style and influences reflecting the fusion of indigenous, European and African cultures.