Get to know the colorful and varied Peruvian dances that remain intact despite the passage of time.
Can you imagine that music and dance have existed in some areas of the world for 10,000 years? Thanks to the latest archaeological finds of musical instruments, the history of music in Peru dates back to this period. And we all know where music is created, present the corresponding typical dances that give expression to the music. In Peru there is an incredibly wide variety of customs that can be found in the different dances of the different regions.
In the area of Lake Titicaca alone there are 300 different dance forms. We would like to introduce you to the most striking dances in the different regions of Peru.
1. The Marinera, the most representative of Peruvian dances
has its origin on the coast of Peru. It is also considered a national dance and comes from the La Libertad region in the north of the country. The mixture of the Spanish-African-American natives can be found and it is danced all over Peru. Over time, different forms and variants have developed in the different regions, which can be divided into three categories: 1. the Nordic, 2. the coastal and 3. the Bergische Marinera.
The elegance of the female crotch, the gentle movements of the handkerchief in the hand and the rattling of the castanets are essential elements of the Marinera. But also the arrogance of the gesture and the figure, as well as the representation of the conqueror and in love are very particularly important components.
You will find Alcatraz along the coast towards the Peruvian capital Lima. It is also a very popular dance of Afro-Peruvian origin and is mainly danced in the Chincha province. It is a very erotic, festive dance. The usual supporting instrument is the box drum. The musician sits on it, which is very rare, and so accompanies the dancers. The man and woman each have a piece of paper attached to the back waist and the man tries to light the paper bag with a lit candle while the woman swings her hips.
3. Huyano, Peruvian dances.
It can be found in the mountains of Peru, more precisely it is the most popular genre of Andean music and at the same time the most widespread dance in the Peruvian Andes. It is danced a lot during the celebrations, costumbrista parties, as well as for various rituals such as the payment to mother earth “Pachamama”. Its origin goes back even to the times of the Inca Empire. To date, it has certainly been modified and changed by external influences. Huayno is danced by couples with relatively little physical contact. The man asks the lady directly to dance with his arm extended. Then they take a recreated “paseo”. It is a tap dance in which the man chases the lady. His movements are both joyful and malicious. The instruments that accompany her are the flute, charango, mandolin and violin, so that the huayno is accompanied by soft string music.
If you have the opportunity to tour the sacred valley during local festivities, you may be lucky enough to see the huayno dance in its original form.
4. The witti originated in the southern highlands of Peru, in the famous Colca Canyon. It tells the story of an adolescent man who fell in love with a young girl. However, she lives in a rival area, which is why he can never go to her. One day he takes the opportunity to disguise himself as a woman at a village festival and kidnap her. The original dance is shaped by Christian and local influences. The latter are clearly due to the Inca culture. The dance consists of several choreographies. One of these makes the men form a small circle, which is surrounded by the larger circle of women. When the music stops, the men start singing, to which the women also answer singing.
5. The Diablada
Is danced on the border with Bolivia, in the area of Lake Titicaca. This devil dance represents the struggle between good and evil. The main devil wears a mask in the form of reptiles, which is coated with gold and silver. He has ears like a frog, tusks in his mouth and huge horns. They were made of plaster and later of metal. The other devils also wear colorful masks with horns and colorful costumes. The angel, who also participates in this dance, is equipped with wings, a skirt and a sword. Nowadays, the Diablada is accompanied by an orchestra and a band. It is performed once a year at the Puno celebrations.
This festival is still held today in memory of the myth that the two children Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo of the creator god Wiracocha, abandoned on the island of the sun, went ashore in Puno. From there they moved on to Cuzco, where they finally founded the Inca Empire.
Peru is not only a country that possesses one of the wonders of the modern world, but it also has beautiful customs that both local and foreign travelers like. If your plans are only to visit Machu Picchu, you will be missing a great part of the culture of the people. Before traveling by train to Machu Picchu or walking the Inca Trail, we recommend that you experience the villages and rural communities through experiential and mystical tourism. You can also participate in yoga retreats, ayahuasca sessions and many adventures.
Do you know any other typical Peruvian dances or have you ever watched one live? Then tell us about your experiences? We are very curious!