Introduction: Becoming
Visible in Neoliberal Bolivia
fieldnotes, 29 September 1996. Don Fausto and I walked up to the
health clinic, the concentration point where the di√erent dance groups
would gather for the entrada, the entry parade that begins Villa Pagador’s
annual folkloric festival, the fiesta de San Miguel.∞ We were among the first
to arrive, though it was well past one o’clock, the o≈cial starting time. The
Diablada (devil-dance) group from neighboring Valle Hermoso was sup-
posed to lead the parade, as they historically have done, but they were
unaccountably absent. This made our group the first and, by default, the
leaders of the entrada. Little by little our people kept arriving, until finally
Don Fausto just said, ‘‘Let’s go,’’ and the band began to play and o√ we
went. The fiesta had begun.
The entrada followed the usual parade route through the barrio, out
across Valle Hermoso, and finally up the hill to the little chapel where San
Miguel is housed. I had been dancing along with the fiesta sponsors at the
head of the group when suddenly our attention was drawn to a commotion
behind us. The Diablada from Valle Hermoso had finally arrived, joining
the entrada as it neared the end of its route. The dancers from Valle Her-
moso were now pushing right through our group, elbowing the clumsy
Morenada dancers in their heavy costumes o√ the road, drowning out our
band with their own, as they shoved ahead to take their place at the front of
the procession.
Don Fausto stood in the middle of the road watching this disruption,
arms folded across his chest, furious and swearing bitterly. The rest of us in
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