The dances and dances of the highlands of Peru are representative of Peruvian culture in the world and vary according to the region of the Andes where they are performed. These dances derive mainly from the Quechua tradition and are danced to the sound of the quena, the charango and the zampoña.
The most distinctive sounds of Peru are those of the highlands. Each of these rhythms is accompanied by a type of dance that varies depending on the region of the highlands where it is located. Thus, the dances in Ancash in the north can be very different from those in the Mantaro Valley, Cuzco, Puno, Ayacucho and Parinacochas.
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1. Dance of the scissors
After the Spanish conquest, the Inca priests were rejected and relegated. The Spaniards ordered the natives to call their priests sons of the devil.
This indication was not well received by the Incas and the Spaniards had to accept the priests back and let them participate in their Catholic rituals, forcing them to dance the traditional dances of Spain (minués, contradanza and jota).
The Inca priests learned the steps of the Spaniards and their dances, and they also saw how new songs were played on violins and harps. It was in this way that the scissors dancers appeared during the 16th century.
Each dancer must hold a pair of scissors in his hands, while the percussion sounds to mark the steps. It is believed that the use of scissors is due to the fact that the ancient Inca dancers were exploited in the mines by the Spaniards, thus, the idea of taking a pair of scissors in each hand to dance.
The songs of the Huayno are sung in Quechua, for this reason it is considered one of the most authentic dances of the Peruvian highlands. The Huayno appeared in 1586 and since then it has passed from generation to generation as part of the Inca tradition.
In the southern highlands this dance is a little slower, however in the central Andes it is lively, but its songs have sad lyrics.
3. Sara Kutipay
The Sara Kutipay is one of the few dances that reflects the community spirit of the Peruvian descendants of the Incas. It is a theatrical representation of Peruvian peasants as they work the land. It is danced mainly in Awacucho and its name translates as “corn cultivation”.
Sara Kutipay reflects the spirit of the Ayni, the communal work that took place under the Incas. The Incas had three basic principles: hard work, discipline and community.
4. The diablada
The diablada is considered the bastion of Puno’s cultural heritage. It is a dance that shows the most exotic costumes among all the dances of Peru. It is performed wearing striking and fascinating costumes and devil masks.
This type of dance flourished in the Chilean, Bolivian and Peruvian altiplano. Each country has its own version of the dance. In the case of Peru, the diablada appeared in Puno in 1576, when the myth of Aymaran de Supay (the devil) became popular in the region, indicating that the devil wandered at night looking for men to worship him and punishing those who despised them.
Declared by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, this dance is typical of the Huanca ethnic group, which extends throughout the Mito region. It is a ritual dance that is more than 15,000 years old and in which men dance imitating the flight movement of the condor.
Declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation in 2011, this is a very popular dance of the Central Highlands of Peru, specifically in the district of Yauyos (Jauja), which is danced on the feast of the patron saints San Sebastian and San Fabian.
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Featured Image: Andina.pe