Tobas (dance)

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The folkloric dance of the Tobas speaks of the ancient past of Bolivia. It has roots in a time when the Incas were the predominant force in the Andean highlands region. Tobas is an athletic dance comprising agile steps accentuated with many jumps and bounds.



The Tobas were a tribe of warriors who lived in the Chaco region of Bolivia. The Incas admired the Tobas dance and they were taken from their Amazonian homeland by the Emperor Tupac Yupanqui. The dance and music of the Tobas have been reinterpreted by subsequent people of Bolivia.

Today, Tobas is a prominent part of the annual carnivals (like the Carnaval de Oruro or the Bolivian Festiva [lower-alpha 1] in Virginia).


The Tobas dance is a special representation of energy - a singular dance with impressive jumps performed by the dancers to impress the audience. This unique dance is performed during religious and other festivities as well as the Oruro Carnival. Not only do you need good physique, but a lot of stamina and energy. [1]

The dance steps have special names: Bolivar (quick with regular jumps); camba (very agile, one meter high jumps); chucu-chucu (with a faster rhythm that amuse the audience, in the foot tips, almost in the knees); and the cullahui jump.


Typical Tobas costume Tobas Danseur dans une Tobas, danse traditionnelle aymara de Bolivie.jpg
Typical Tobas costume Tobas

The typical Tobas costume [lower-alpha 2] is headwear entirely made of feathers, decorated with jewels, a skirt and top decorated made with colorful fabrics, with beads and fringes on the bottom, with cows feet sewed onto fabric to tie around the ankle, spear or hatchet, bracelet of feathers, and an anklet of feathers.

Notes and references

  1. "Tobas- Oruro Carnival Dance". Retrieved 27 October 2021.

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