Friday, July 19, 2013

In Search of the Ecuadorian Bottle Dancers

Frank S. Czarny, Alumnus, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development (2001)

A few small communities in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador are exclusively populated with people of African descent. Inhabitants of these communities practice a folk dance where a bottle is balanced on the top of the head. This qualitative case study involves an empirical investigation into the possible symbolic significance of the bottle dance. The research trajectory branches in two directions. The first research trajectory involves an investigation into the historic and cultural origins of the Andean Afro-Ecuadorian people of the Chota-Mira River Valley. The second research trajectory involves an exploration into the contemporary forces influencing the Andean Afro-Ecuadorian communities of the Chota-Mira River Valley. This community case study (Robson, 1993) contains a description and analysis of conditions surrounding the villages and people who originated the dance form, La Bomba del Chota.

Multiple sources of evidence inform the case study. Qualitative tools of data collection and analysis facilitate an understanding of La Bomba del Chota by way of documents and records examination (Robson, 1993). These written materials relate to general Ecuadorian history and the Chota-Mira River Valley. The approach of passive observer (Robson, 1993) enabled observation of the actual dance form. An application of a description matrix structured the generation of the study problem statement. Fishbone techniques identified symptoms and causes of problems faced by the Afro-Choteno community. Vertical box listing sequenced the method or case study strategy practiced this account. Fishbone diagramming illuminated the analysis of socio-economic factors. An economic stimulus solutions matrix enabled evaluation of proposed study interventions. A ranking matrix illustrates the most appropriate economic stimulus interventions. Results suggest the performance of the dance form, La Bomba del Chota, exists and responds to a tightly-wound Ecuadorian system of racial and socio-economic oppression grounded in Colonial, Post-Colonial, and Neo Colonial practices. Recommendation: Enlargement of an existing community-development intervention program, originally introduced by World-Cup soccer players who were born and raised in the region. The community development intervention program includes the involvement of an institution of higher learning which sends a clarion call and reminder of social responsibility to scholar-practitioners and the academic community in addressing the needs of the oppressed.

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