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Inside Look At Changa Tuki Dance Influence In Venezuelan Culture

Travelling to the slums of Caracas, Venezuela, THUMP embarked on a journey to expose the intricacies of Changa Tuki – described by the channel as “a distinct dance music scene that represents a subculture of artists, musicians, and dancers.” The consequent mini-documentary illustrates the mechanics of the dance itself as entailing quick footwork, resulting in a type of dance that can appropriately be described as athletic in nature.

Changa – as it was originally called - was spawned in the slums of Caracas during the 1990s. Birthed in a space where crime and violence are an unheard act, ‘Tuki’ was added to the name in the late 2000’s in reference to the physicality and aggression that characterizes the dance. Tuki also relates to the perceived delinquency onlookers have of the subculture, likening the dancers to monkeys. Flipping this negative connotation into a positive one is the rhetoric that supports ‘tuki’ as emulating the rhythm of technotronic beats which facilitated the scene's birth.

As an aggressive dance, Changa Tuki integrated itself within the interactions that transpire within the social space of Caracas. Crews that intrude on another’s turf can expect to duke it out with a battle on the dancefloor, behaving almost as aggressively as a physical altercation. Despite the incorporation of Changa Tuki in maintaining turf rights, it has also become an outlet away from violence, encouraging a positive shift in slum culture as a whole.

‘El Maestro,’ the head of the Abstractor crew, confidently asserts their mission to eliminate the prejudice of the scene as being sustained by thugs and criminals, because it’s actually the opposite. The constructive nature of this subculture’s presence is highlighted through El Maestro’s success in saving thirty-eight students from the street who were inclined to delinquency by encouraging them to dance.

Overall, it is fascinating to see how Changa Tuki as a subculture has been able to constructively create a shift within the culture of Caracas as a whole, in addition to other styles of dance within the electronic music scene.

Cover image via Noisey

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