15 typical dances of Chile, classified by region
A summary of the most typical Chilean dances of this Andean country.
Dancing is a way of expressing ourselves bodily; each country, city and even town has a series of typical dances, which are part of its history and culture.
In this article we will focus on Chile to talk about its dances, as it is a country full of life, history and richness in this sense. Specifically, we will know 15 typical dances of Chile, classified according to their regionnorth, center or south.
15 typical dances of Chile
In Chile are very typical the festive dances of different types; these dances are folkloric expressions that usually have a religious and/or festive motivation.. Most of these dances have many years of history.
The typical dances of Chile can be divided according to three zones of the country: the Northern zone, the Central zone and the Southern zone. In this article we will follow this classification.
The National Dance of Chile
Through the typical dances of Chile, the country expresses its national identity, its culture, its values and its ways of celebrating. First of all, we will see what Chile's dance par excellence consists of, that is, its national dance: the famous cueca.
1. The cueca
The cueca is Chile's national dance, and for this reason, it is a very popular dance. It is danced in all the regions of the country; specifically, since the year 1824. On September 18, 1979, the cueca was declared Chile's national dance.
How is the cueca danced? First of all, the huasos (this is the name given to Chilean men from the center or south of the country) look for a girl they like and offer her their arm. The girl gets up and accompanies the guaso; they walk around until they reach an area of the room or dance floor. They stand facing each other, with a handkerchief in their hands, and begin to dance the cueca.
The huaso turns insinuatingly and "chases" his partner (she "runs away"); then he uses the handkerchief as a bow, surrounding the girl with it but without touching her, and "brings" her to his side.
Dances of Northern Chile
Let's take a look at some of the typical dances of Chile from the northern part of the country:
The carnavalito is another of the typical dances of Chile; this time from the northern zone. In fact, its origin is Bolivian, but it is also danced in Chile (in the North zone) and in Argentina, especially during the Carnavalito festivities.especially during the Carnival festivities.
The musical genre that accompanies the carnavalito is the "huaino", based on instruments such as the bass drum and the quena. The carnavalito is danced in groups (in pairs). Its choreography is cheerful and flashy.
3. The torito
The third of the typical dances of Chile that we will know is the "torito", also danced in the northern part of the country. This dance is typical of the religious festival of San Pedrowhich is celebrated every June 29th.
It is a dance that is also performed in a group, where two men dressed in black and white (each of one color) dance in the center of the room or place. In addition, they wear a rather large bull mask.
4. The huachitorito
The next dance, also from northern Chile, is the huachitorito. It is especially typical of the Christmas season. It is accompanied by instruments such as: guitar, bass drum, snare drum, violins, quena and accordions. To do this, different pairs are formed in rows of two by two (or in a circle).
The couples surround a couple in the center. The dance is staged while the Christmas shepherds visit Christmas cribs in the houses of the city or town.
5. The cueca nortina
This is a version of the Chilean cueca; in this case, it has no lyrics, only melody.. The dance of the cueca nortina is accompanied by instruments such as the trumpet, tuba, snare drum and bass drum. Its melody is very cheerful, festive, and is another of the typical dances of Chile that are danced in pairs.
6. The cachimbo
The cachimbo is another very festive dance. It is also danced in pairs and with handkerchiefs in the hands. It is similar to the cueca, since it includes turns that go according to the rhythm of the music.. In the cachimbo there is also a "love conquest", where the man is the one who performs such action. Its melody is composed of guitar and accordion.
Dances of the South zone
We are now going to travel through the southern part of the country. What Chilean dances do we find in this area?
7. The costillar
Another of the typical dances of Chile is the costillar. In this case, it is a typical dance of the South. It is generally a dance performed only by men, although it is true that sometimes the couple is included. The costillar is a dance that represents a commune of the central zone of Chile, called Chillán.. To perform this dance, a bottle is placed in the center of the dance floor.
8. The pericona
The pericona is another typical Chilean dance; it is very popular on the island of Chiloé. The pericona involves four people, who dance six turns from right to left. dance six turns from right to left..
9. The chocolate
The chocolate is a couple dance. It has Spanish influences, especially in relation to the turns given by its participants, and the posture they adopt.and the posture they adopt. Chocolate has different versions, like many other typical Chilean dances.
10. Zamba refalosa
Another typical Chilean dance is the zamba refalosa, a very festive dance. It is performed in pairs, with a handkerchief in hand. The couples remain separated. The movements include mostly spiral turns.
11. The sirilla
Another typical dance of southern Chile is the sirilla, although its origin is Spanish. It is danced mainly on the island of Chiloé..
It is performed in pairs; the couples stand facing each other (forming a square). The dance includes different movements with turns and changes of position. It is also a dance that includes handkerchiefs.
Dances of the Central Zone
We change zone, and we are now going to see the typical dances of Chile in its Central zone:
12. The mazamorra
The mazamorra includes a choreography that represents two sparrow hawks while they surround a pigeon.. The dancers of the mazamorra perform somewhat funny movements in order to "conquer" the love of a woman. Precisely, the name of this Chilean dance originated from this "mazamorreo" that takes place during the dance itself.
13. The pequén
The pequén is another typical Chilean dance; its name has its origin in a country bird with this name.
This dance can be danced in different ways. In the central zone, the "pequén campesino" is danced. In this case, the dancers dancers dance imitating the flight of the pequén.. The dance begins, like many others, with the choice of a dance partner (the man initiates it). This is followed by a certain conquest and flirtation between the two.
14. The porteza
The porteza is also one of the best known typical dances of Chile. The melody of the porteza also belongs to that of the cueca. To begin with, the man dances by making small jumps; then he alternates his legs making crosses.The woman performs a so-called "escobillado" (brushing) dance with her feet.
15. The sajuriana
The sajuriana, also known as sajuria and secudiana, is typical of a Chilean region called Ñuble.. The melody that accompanies the sajuriana is a melody similar to the copla. In this case, the dancers dance separately, and wave a handkerchief up and down. The movements are quite improvised, and include "zapatoneados".
- Collier, S. and William F.S. (2004). A History of Chile: 1808-2002. Cambridge University Press.
- Loyola, M. and Cádiz, O. (2014). 50 Traditional and Popular Dances in Chile. Ediciones Universitarias de Valparaíso.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)