Nicoya, Culture

Kumbala shows off Guanacaste’s talent in the Riviera Maya in Mexico

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español
Translator: Arianna Hernández

The choreographic group Kumbala made it to the winners’ podium 11 times in the 2022 Stage Dance Championship, the second edition of the dance competition. The competition was held in the Riviera Maya in Mexico from October 20 to 22.

In the competition, Kumbala obtained eight first places: three in folk dance, four in Latin dances, and one in urban dances. They also won a second place in the senior solo category of Latin dances, another one in the senior large female group of folk dance, and a fourth place in the small kids’ group.

For the director of Kumbala, Rosalba “Chava” Villareal, this achievement means realizing her dream of competing internationally. “It fulfills me to see the dancers’ faces, to see them excited and to see them cry when they said that we had won first place,” she commented.

On October 24, a group of Nicoyans welcomed the Kumbala dance company to celebrate their performance in the 2022 Stage Dance Championship, the second edition of the dance competition.

Six hundred dancers from 40 groups from Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Spain, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Argentina participated in the competition, according to information provided by the coordinator of Stage Costa Rica, Nicole Peña.

For Bayron Suárez, one of the dancers, Kumbala’s outstanding role makes them committed to continue improving.

We’ve been a group that has been very visible here in the canton. So from here on, it’s like another phase. We have to demand more from ourselves. Each performance always has to be simply spectacular…. From now on, it has to be a higher level,” said Suárez, who has been part of the group for 11 years.

Sheerly By Achiote Chicken and Savings

Stage Dance Championship does not cover the expenses of the academies participating in its international competitions. To participate, each participant and companion had to cover their own expenses.

Villareal related that for a year, the dancers’ families held raffles and sold traditional Guanacastecan food at different festivals in the province. In this way, they managed to raise part of the money necessary to cover the travel expenses of the delegation of 53 people: Chava, 35 dancers and 17 companions.

We prepared all year by holding sales and [raffles]. For example, the municipality helped us with a kitchen [a place] to help us in a farmers’ market they held in December…. The mothers sold achiote chicken, corn rice, vigorón (banana leaves filled with yuca, pork, cabbage and chimichurri), slow-roasted meat, chicken with potatoes,” Villareal commented.

Heading to Cartagena 2024

The coordinator of Stage Costa Rica, Nicole Peña, explained that to qualify for the world competition, the dance groups had to compete first in the national competition held in each of the 10 countries that participated in the world competition.

Stage Costa Rica was held in August of 2022 at Costa Rica’s National Auditorium Theater. Twenty-seven dance groups participated in the activity and of those, only five succeeded in attending the world event. The only group from Guanacaste was Kumbala.

The 2024 world competition will be in Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. In August of this year, the organization held the Costa Rica Stage to define which groups qualify for the tournament. On this occasion, 40 Costa Rican dance groups participated and Kumbala made the final cut again.

“We’ll participate in the same categories but with different choreographies,” said Villarreal.