Wanaragua: Garífuna Masked Warrior Dance
  Handmade masks worn in the Wanaragua dance. Triunfo de la Cruz, Honduras. Photo credit: Drew Irwin.  
Wanaragua Dance Costumes
In the Wanaragua, the dancer is always male but wears an elaborate women's costume. The dress reaches the knees or below. Some see it as a disguise that covers and hides the body. It is very showy with its ample colored ribbons, mirrors, golden papers, and decorated shells. The costume consists of three principal elements: the mask, the headdress, and the women's dress. Two additions are of a particular importance. They include the colored ribbons in the back part of the dress and the small rattles attached to the calves.

The dancer uses these colored ribbons to accent the arm gestures and the breaks in rhythm such as the turns. The rattles also stress the rhythm that is marked by the footsteps. The dancer uses these instruments in his relationship and dialogue with the drummer. The drummer follows the dancer and adjusts the beating to favor the dance.

Generally speaking, the mask is made of metallic silk and is painted with realistic human features. The edges are covered with cloth so that the dancer's skin is not harmed. Recently, some mask-makers have created new, fantastical masks. They are by all means true, artistic creations.

  Wanaragua dancer captivates an audience with his fancy footwork. Triunfo de la Cruz, Honduras. Photo credit: Drew Irwin.  
The headdress is normally made out of cardboard. It is coated with aluminum paper, golden paper, spectacles, metallic paper strips, flashy colored ribbons. The imagination and creativity of the maker has free reign. Frequently, its size and danger of falling determines how the dancer positions his head. It is a simple women's dress with small designs and bright, vivid colors such as yellow and red.

Related links:
Barauda brings traditional Garifuna dances to Teguz (scroll down). Wendy Griffin. Honduras This Week, 3/98. Contains a section on the Máscaro dance and the legend of Satuye and Barauda. Note that Barauda is the name of the dance troupe directed by Purificación 'Popo' Arriola López.
Honduras produces many colorful dance masks (scroll down). Wendy Griffin. Honduras This Week, 9/14/98. Overview of dance masks used by different indigenous and ethnic groups in Honduras. Includes Garífuna máscaro dance.
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Credit: Compiled by Alejandro Tosatti, InCorpore Cultural Association©. Based on interviews with Garífuna community members, Junior Clother, Santos Guzmán, Natividad Roches, Purificación Arriola López; Triunfo de la Cruz, Honduras, July 1998. All rights reserved. Edited and translated by Kristina Stevens, Latin American Studies, Stanford University, 2/1/00.