Tens of thousands of people take part in the 50+ dance groups that perform during Carnival in Oruro, Bolivia (aka Carnaval de Oruro). The event, which has been designated a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, requires a lot of behind the scenes support. Here’s our look behind the scenes at Carnaval de Oruro including costume makers, makeup artists, and more.
It’s an honor to take part in Carnival in Oruro and participants invest many months to learn choreography and many hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to purchase elaborate costumes like these.
Even the parade route gets dressed up for Carnival in Oruro, Bolivia.
Carnival costume and mask shops are open year-round in Oruro. During Carnival, additional stands pop up selling last minute items that complete the costumes.
Shops selling costumes and masks for Carnival tend to specialize in specific costumes for specific dances. The shops pictured above sell items worn by Diablada and Morenada dancers.
Oruro is famous for its costume and mask makers, many of them skilled in handmade craft traditions.
This street vendor is selling gloves made specifically for each of the different groups of Morenada dancers.
Sparkly bric-a-brac of all sorts used to customize and personalize Carnival costumes.
Some conservationists estimate that 2,000 hairy armadillos (the symbol of Oruro) are killed each year to be stuffed or turned into Carnival rattles called matracas. This has lead to concerns about the future of this species.
Participants gather in a kind of outdoor green room offering food, alcohol, hair stylists, makeup artists, and other services to participants before they hit the Carnival parade route.
A woman gets her hair and makeup done before Carnival in Oruro, Bolivia.
Our friend Saul getting ready to dance with the Morenada Central Comunidad Cocani Carnival fraternity with the help of his brother Diego.
Every inch of every costume, like these Tinku hats, must be colorful and festive for Carnival.
Oruro is a silver mining town and silver objects are displayed as part of Carnival celebrations.
On Monday morning, various Carnival dance groups display family heirloom silver in front of the church.