Saturday, August 17, 2019

Areito is Taíno

Members of the Kasibahagua Taíno Cultural Society shared a contemporary areito
 at the 2019 Bear Mountain Pow Wow in New York. 
Did You Know: The term areito (also spelled areyto) is a Taíno word that describes a socio-ceremonial blend of dance, music, song, and poetry. The areito played a significant role in the social, political, and religious life of the Taíno People. In the 15th and early 16th century, Spanish chroniclers in the Caribbean noted that the arieto were presented in the main plaza of the iukaieke (also spelled yucayeque) or village. Sometimes areito were conducted in a designated area in front of the home of a kasike or chieftain. These plazas or ceremonial grounds called batei had their borders defined by standing stones, often decorated or carved with various images, or by earthen embankments. Dances during an areito could vary a great deal. Sometimes there were step-patterns moving along specific pathways. Walking patterns that went no more than a step or two in either direction were also used. According to a few of the descriptions given by Spanish chroniclers, some dances were comparable to what would be called line dances today. All the dances were lead by a tekina (a guide, teacher or dance master) of either sex who would use a call and response pattern of song and steps. Areito leaders determined the steps, words, rhythm, energy, tone, and pitch of a dance sequence. The dances could be based on ancient clearly choreographed steps or new choreography could be presented in this evolving art form. 


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