Art > Carnival

Burrokeet

Written by Geoffrey MacLean

Burrokeet, derived from the Spanish word burroquito (little donkey). The burrokeet is constructed from bamboo so as to give the illusion of a dancer riding a small burro or donkey when he put his head through the hole in the donkey’s neck and the body of the animal fitted around his hips and carries the reins in his hands.. The Burrokeet tradition existed both in East Indian Hindu culture and on the South American mainland.

The costume is comprised of a donkey’s head made from coloured paper on a wooden or bamboo frame, while the body was covered with a long satin skirt with a sisal tail, sometimes decorated with flowers. The bit and bridle are made of coloured cord. The “rider” wore a satin shirt and a large matador’s hat or straw hat and dances in a way that mimmicks the antics of a donkey and also bows to the accompaniment of guitars, cuatros and shac-shacs. He performs a dance called Burriquite, which originated in Venezuela.

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