Chilean dancers tour Canada to raise money for school children

The cultural exchange trip was organized by Chilean expats to raise funds to help victims of the 2010 earthquake.


Some of Chile’s top dancers are about to embark on a three-week tour of Canada in a bid to promote their national culture while collecting funds for victims of the 2010 earthquake.

During the visit, the Chilean National Dance Troupe (Bafona) will perform traditional Chilean dances in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Included in the group’s routine are customary dances from the Rapa Nui of Easter Island, the indigenous Mapuche people from Chile’s south and huaso dances from the rural population in the country’s central zone.

The trip has been organized to raise money for the reconstruction of Nobeles de Chile, a rural elementary school in Chile’s O’Higgins Region that was damaged by last year’s earthquake.

The school is among the country’s best, consistently standing out for its high levels of teaching and academic performance. In 2006, it was recognized as the leading public primary school in Chile.

“After the catastrophe, Bafona traveled throughout the affected regions bringing hope,” said Chile’s minister of culture, Luciano Cruz-Coke. “Now, the proceeds from the presentation will be used to finance the repairs to this school, enabling the students to once again study in suitable conditions so that they can continue to excel.”

The Canadian tour has been coordinated by “Together for Chile”, an association of Chilean expats living in Canada, which was formed following the February 2010 earthquake.

It’s estimated that over the course of the tour, the Bafona dancers will perform in front of 15,000 people raising between US$200,000 and US$300,0000. The money raised through ticket sales will be administered by Habitat for Humanity Chile.

“Bafona has always stood out for fostering a spirit of solidarity and that is precisely why on this occasion, we are traveling as far afield as Canada,” said the group’s artistic director, Leticia Lizama.

As well as giving live performances, the dancers will hold a series of workshops and meetings aimed at strengthening cultural ties between the Chilean and Canadian communities.

The tour will run from Friday, September 30 to Wednesday, October 19.