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Marinera Norteña

Marinera is a partner dance that originated along the coastal regions of Peru, using handkerchiefs as props. The dance is a mix of Spanish contradanza and Andean zamacueca, and is a stylized reenactment of a courtship, showing a blend of the different cultures of Peru. The dance has gained recognition throughout South America and is known as the most prominent traditional dance of Peru.[1] The city of Trujillo has been recognized as the national birthplace of the marinera since 1986. The Marinera Festival, a cultural event dedicated to marinera held in Trujillo, has held annual competitions of the dance since 1960.[2] In 2012, the Congress of Peru observed nationally October 7 as a commemorative day for the marinera.[3]

The dance is traditionally accompanied by several instruments: cajón, clarinets, guitars, drums, and bugles.


Peruvian paso dancing marinera

The origins of the dance can be traced to Spanish, Moorish, Andean, and Gypsy rhythmic influences. Although the dance had informally been around in Peru since the colonial era, it was formally recognized as "Marinera" in honor of the Navy of Peru, or the Marina de Guerra del Peru in 1879 during the War of the Pacific.

According to the Peruvian historian Romulo Cuneo Vidal, the Zamacueca was itself a dance of rest during the era of the Inca Empire. Thus, coming from such a far natively Peruvian background, the dance is itself simply a derivation of an ancient Peruvian dance. Ancient pottery dating from the Pre-Columbian era called huacos depicted people resting in Zamacueca positions.

The first Marinera to be written in musical notation was La Concheperla composed by Abelardo Gamarra Rondó and José Alvarado, by Rosa Mercedes Ayarza de Morales in 1894...

Creation theories[edit]

Peruvian proposal[edit]

Peru claims that is that the dance is exclusively Peruvian.

According to Peruvian historian Rómulo Cúneo Vidal, the zamacueca was itself a dance of rest during the times of the Inca Empire and pre-Inca cultures, supporting the proposal that Marinera is native to Peru as a derivation of traditional dance, as depicted in some ancient huacos of people resting in Zamacueca positions.

Hispanic proposal[edit]

Ballroom dances of Europe's Viceroyalty are also a proposed origin for many Latin American dances, including the Marinera. The Hispanic proposal also suggests that European ballroom dances such as "Fandango" and "Cashuas" led to the creation of the Chilean Sajuriana, the Venezuelan Zambo, the Argentine Cielo Gaucho, the Mexican Tas-be, the Colombian Bambuco, the Ecuadorian Amor Fino, and the Peruvian Toro Mata.


Peruvian Paso.

Different schools and dancing styles of the Marinera exist, based on location. There are Marinera dance academies all over Peru, and competitions are frequently held. The most important competition is the National Competition of the Marinera (Concurso Nacional de Marinera) held during the National Festival of the Marinera (Festival Nacional de Marinera), held in Trujillo, every January.

The three main variations are the Marinera Limeña, the Marinera Norteña, and the Marinera Serrana. Sometimes the Marinera is danced with her partner mounted on a Peruvian Paso (the horse dancing, and the chálan directing it).

Marinera Limeña[edit]

This Marinera is elegant and a little slow-paced in comparison to other variations. The dance can be interpreted in low or high tones. The Marinera of contrapunto or "canto de jarana" usually consists of three Marineras, Resbalosa (Slippery), and a succession of "fugas" (Escapes).

Nowadays, the Marinera Limeña seems to be becoming overshadowed by the Marinera Norteña, because of its popular qualities. Nevertheless, the dance still has a small number of fans that dance it during October fests or during the anniversary of Lima.

Marinera Norteña[edit]

It acquired characteristics of the Marinera Limeña, and soon enough it became a new variation of the dance. The dance itself tends to be quick-paced and though not as "elegant" as the Limeña, it can also be very stylish. Even though the dance originated in the Northern coasts of the country, it has become quite popular throughout Peru.

It is thanks to that popularity that the Marinera is considered the National Dance of Peru, along with the Peruvian Waltz.

In Marinera Norteña, the man wears shoes, while the woman dances completely barefoot. With constant practice women are even able to dance barefoot on extremely hot pavement and coarse, very rough surfaces, as the soles of their feet become well seasoned and toughened up, something they are really proud of.

The dancer must go to the dance floor wearing their best clothes but with bare feet, in the same way they did the rural northern girls of the nineteenth century. Being forced to dance barefoot on any surface without showing any discomfort, professional dancers should practice enough to develop thick calluses on the soles of their feet."[4]

"The Marinera Norteña allows men to wear shoes, but women must dance barefoot, soon developing thick calluses on their feet, of which they are proud to show off."[5]

"It was in Trujillo that female dancers started the whole tradition of going barefoot—some even pride themselves on being able to put out cigarettes on their callused soles."[6]

Very often the Marinera Norteña presentations on open air are purposely scheduled at noon, when the pavement is hotter, because this motivates and encourages the barefoot female dancers to dance better and to conquer the Chalán and also because the public is astonished to see how the girls smile and enjoy as they burn the soles of their feet on the scorching hot ground.

Besides high skills and constant rehearsals, marinera also demands great physical effort and sacrifices from the dancers, who must exercise and have a proper diet. In order to strengthen the soles of their feet it is known that many marinera dancer women train by walking barefoot in the street, going to different places as a part of their regular routine and in their spare time, becoming what's known as "barefooters". The braver, more advanced female dancers are even able to walk barefoot on broken glass and to put cigarettes out on the tough soles of their feet, in order to make them stronger and to show others what they are capable of. Men, on the other hand, have intense practice on "zapateo" and the different steps of the dance until they master them. A marinera norteña dancer leaves aside social life, family reunions and resting hours in order to dedicate time to his/hers passion.

There's no "Marinera Dress". Female dancers should wear the typical clothing of the towns where this marinera style is performed. It's mandatory though that women dance barefoot. It is unacceptable for them to wear sandals, canvas shoes, ballet slippers or any kind of footwear to perform this dance.

For the men it is typical to wear "chalan" clothing, with cotton poncho and wide straw hat. In some places they wear a white drill suit. Men wear black, glossy shoes.

Marinera Serrana[edit]

This Marinera is typical from the highland and mountain regions of Peru. It usually has a minor tone and is characterized by a slower movement. This marinera is also repeated twice, and then is followed by a "fuga de huayno". The second part is more sentimental than the first one.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simmons, Ozzie G. (1955). "The Criollo Outlook in the Mestizo Culture of Coastal Peru". American Anthropologist. 57 (1): 107–117. doi:10.1525/aa.1955.57.1.02a00110. ISSN 0002-7294. JSTOR 665791.
  2. ^ Coleman, Katherine (1976). "The Decadencia of a Spanish Co Lonial City: Trujillo, Peru, 1600-1784". Bulletin of the Society for Latin American Studies (25): 39–62. ISSN 0308-1540. JSTOR 45179624.
  3. ^ "(Spanish)Trujillo celebró a lo grande el Día Nacional de la Marinera". (in Spanish). Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  4. ^ "TRAJES TIPICOS DEL PERU Traditional Peruvian Dresses: enero 2012". 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  5. ^ "Trujillo Marinera Festival 2017, Peru Festival". Event Carnival. 2016-01-20. Archived from the original on 2017-01-08. Retrieved 2017-01-07.
  6. ^ "Seduced by La Marinera, Peru's National Dance". World Travel List. 2015-07-03. Archived from the original on 2018-03-07. Retrieved 2017-01-07.

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