Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dance: The National Marinera Competition In Trujillo, January 24 to 28

Many believe, myself included, that one of the most elegant and beautiful dances in Peru is the marinera, which is most popular along the coast, although there are variations danced in the Andean regions.

Yes, this is a blog about Peruvian food; however, every January, there is a festival combining dance, music, and food that merits mention.

Of course, I am referring to the Concurso Nacional de la Marinera, the National Marinera Competition, held annually in the northern Peruvian city of Trujillo for the last 47 years.

Dancers from all over Peru and abroad converge in sunny Trujillo to participate in a competition unlike any other.

During this time, Trujillo comes to a complete standstill with everyone watching and waiting to see the who the new marinera champions will be.

Traditional northern-Peruvian dishes are served during this time, such as frejoles y cabrito (Peruvian beans and stewed kid goat) and arroz con pato (duck in a seasoned rice), all washed down with great quantities of the local beer, Pilsen Trujillo.

If you have never seen the marinera, in this very short clip from the phenomenal documentary Soy Andina (soon to released in the US), we hear the thrilling drumroll which signals the beginning of a marinera.

The video shows dancers competing in Trujillo's Coliseo Gran Chimú, where the competition is held.

Video: Soy Andina
posted on You Tube by laberintoon2
Running Time: 1:10.

This annual event is organized by the Club Libertad Trujillo, which chooses an annual Queen of the Marinera Festival, as well as organizing parades, and all the activities related to the competition.

The 2007 Marinera Queen is Emilia Santa María Mecq, pictured below.

This next video is not of the best quality; however, it does portray a lovely rendition of the marinera as seen on the Peruvian television show, Mediodía Criollo, broadcast on TNP.

If you watch this video (and I recommend you do) watch the footwork of both dancers, It is simply wonderful to see, and underlines why this is considered such an elegant and complex dance.

The dancers are Yanina Salgado and Koki Beteta, who often perform at Las Brisas de Titicaca in Lima (unfortunately, their website is down, but here is a link to information about this cultural center that offers an excellent dinner show highlighting Peruvian folklore).

The song is called La Verónica, and the dancers are very skilled. Both have won awards for their dancing.

Like I said, watch the footwork!

Video: Marinera Norteña: La Verónica on Mediodía Criollo
posted on You Tube by criollisimo
Running Time: 4:29.

If you don't know much about Trujillo, here are some of my pictures which I took in December. This historic city has managed to preserve many of its colonial buildings and is well situated to visit some of the most important pre-Columbian sites, Chan Chan and the Huaca de la Luna.

And, since this blog is about Peruvian food, here is a photo of another traditional Trujillo dish, arroz con mariscos (seafood in seasoned rice).

Although I do not dance the marinera, I would love to learn. As a start, when I was in Trujillo, I bought the hat.

Finally, if this post has (hopefully) interested you in learning more about this traditional Peruvian dance, here is a short documentary about the marinera, in Spanish with English subtitles.

I love the beginning, in which Peruvian diva Susana Baca says, 'I could tell you that at the first compass of the marinera, I feel that my skin bristles and I can't control it."

I feel the same way.

Video: Marinera, Passion of Peru
posted on You Tube by ricararroyo.
Running Time: 8:49.

¡Qué Viva la Marinera!

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana


Anonymous said...

While I was pregnant, we went to Peru and saw a show called Las Brisas de Titicaca, which showcased all the folk and traditional dances of Peru. There were multiple demonstrations of marinera. What I loved most about all the performances was that each dance seemed to tell a story, not just showcased movement and costumes (which was beautiful on its own, too). The scissors dance was totally insane (in a good way). And of course, there was food!

::Alejandro:: said...

Y'know, I haven't been to Las Brisas yet, but I've heard great things about that show. Next time. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself there. And, the scissor dance is pretty incredible! How do they do that?!?

Mitchell said...

Hi Alejandro - Great post, as usual! Good thing I just ate after reading your blog, otherwise I'd go insane. Thanks for the link/mention to Soy Andina! I wanted to let you know and your readers that Cynthia (featured inthe movie and clip) actually teaches Marinera in new York! I'm even taking it myself, thus proving an aging white guy can (attempt) marinera.

Info here:

- Mitch

::Alejandro:: said...

Thanks Mitch for your comment. So, next year, you'll be at the Marinera Competition in Trujillo?

Carlos A Quiroz said...

Thanks for this excelent post Alejandro!

The real name of the Marinera is ZAMACUECA. A Peruvian writer decided to change the name of this dance last century, after the war between Chile against Peru and Bolivia. The Zamacueca dance traveled around South America and it was called Zamba in Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. In Chile and Bolivia it was called Cueca. It returned to Peru under the name "Chilena", but Peruvians didn't want to have to deal with a name that reminded of our lost. So they name it Marinera in honor to the Peruvian navy.

Zamacueca is a creation of Afrodescendants who blended with Indigenous rythms from Peru's coast. Originally called "zamba cueca" by racist people, who believed it was a sexual dance (probably) not decent enough to be dance at the elite's celebrations.

However, Zamacueca has roots in African rythms, Moche indigenous rituals (dance of the Pavita) and the Spaniard way of dressing and waving of the panuelo. The Zamacueca's history is similar to Colombia's CUMBIA: its the marriage of black and indigenous, dressed of Spaniard.

::Alejandro:: said...


Thanks for the history lesson, I knew that it had been called the zamacueca, but didn't know all the details. It had to be you to set the record straight.


JohnBraun said...

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