7 junio, 2024

13 typical dances and dances of the Peruvian coast

Many are the dances and typical dances of the Peruvian coastbut they stand out, among others, the lando, the washerwomen, the zamacueca, the zapateo, the son of the devils, the tondero or the Lima sailor.

With the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in America in the 16th century, a process of miscegenation began that lasted three centuries and developed a process of cultural exchange.

Despite the oppressed position of the black slaves who served their masters during the Peruvian viceroyalty, their traditions not only remained, but also managed to strengthen, in large part, thanks to the brotherhoods.

The cofradías were a type of brotherhood, devoted to a particular saint, in which they worked for the physical and cultural well-being of a community.

The Catholic Church created exclusive brotherhoods for slaves and, thanks to these, the songs and dances of the black race managed to stay alive.

These songs and dances, in addition to those that later originated on the Peruvian coast, used percussion instruments such as the drum, cajitas, and donkey jaws.

Popular dances of the Peruvian coast


It comes from Angola, a country located in Central Africa. The lando belongs to black folklore and came to America when the colonists introduced slaves, giving rise to African-American dances.

Men and women perform a dance contorting their bodies, in which the movement of the belly is emphasized, to the rhythm of drums and other percussion instruments.

Men and women dance barefoot in a festive and joyful attitude, dressed in simple and colorful costumes. Normally, men wear hats.

2. Washerwomen

The tray, a large wooden container used to carry clothes to the laundry room, is essential in this type of dance.

The women carry it on their head while moving their hips and pretending to do their chores. The dance is accompanied by instruments such as batas, bells, boxes and donkey jaws.

3. Zamacueca

This dance comes from the lando and is characterized by accentuating the movements of the pelvis in a kind of erotic dance that takes place in the middle of a big party.

The cultural miscegenation in Lima between gypsies and mulattoes in the mid-19th century, originated this type of dance, which in a love ritual highlights the obsession of a man for a woman. During it, a special game is made with handkerchiefs that adorns the procession.

4. Zapateo

This dance arrived in South America at the beginning of the 17th century from Spain. It was initially adopted by the gaucho inhabitants of Argentina and Chile, and later came to Peru.

In sync with the sound of the guitar, clapping and the wooden box, the dancers stamp their feet respecting the rules of dance, in a style similar to Spanish flamenco.

It is danced in a group to the rhythm of soft chords, giving prominence to the dancers to demonstrate their skill with the tap dance.

5. They are from the devils

Accompanied by guitars, boxes and donkey jaws, the dancers make a representation that walks through the streets, being led by the Devil. They usually wear red suits and many wear the leader’s mask.

Acrobatic movements, colorful costumes and constant tapping to the sound of drums are the characteristics of this type of dance that is performed on the occasion of Corpus Christi.


This type of dance belongs to the celebration and is performed in pairs. The man and the woman compete to set fire to the cone, a kind of paper cone that their partner has attached to the back of his suit.

Accompanied by the guitar, the cajón, the donkey jaw and the palmas, the dancers prevent the fire from igniting by using a quick movement of the hips.


It belongs to the genre of the celebration and takes place around the presence of a doll. The dancers and singers surround the one who carries the doll in his arms and he dances happily in the center of the group.

At a certain moment, he passes it on to another dancer, and this is how this joyous dance takes place, which has an erotic touch due to the movement of the bodies. The guitar and the wooden box are the most used instruments in this type of dance.

8. Tondero

This type of dance is performed north of the Peruvian coast. The purpose is to honor nature and reproduce the mating and falling in love with birds.

The tondero is a very artistic dance due to the plasticity and harmony of the movements and transmits a festive and joyful atmosphere.

9. Celebration

It is known as «the dance of the waist», for the accelerated and erotic movements that women especially achieve.

It is one of the oldest genres that arrived on the Peruvian coast and seems to be the origin of dances mentioned above, such as the alcatraz, the inga, lando and washerwomen.

10. Lima sailor

It comes from the zamacueca and is performed in pairs. The man constantly expresses her flirtation, trying to show the woman her strength and intelligence while she responds with insinuating and mischievous movements.

To perform this type of dance, a more formal costume is used. The man wears a suit, white shirt, tie, black shoes and handkerchief, while the woman wears an elegant dress with a rounded skirt.

As instruments the guitar, the cajón and the palmas are used, but in recent times it has incorporated wind instruments that give it a touch of a popular band.

11. Northern sailor

This type of dance comes from the zamacueca. It consists of a ritual that represents the mating of the rooster and the hen and is known as the black dance.

The man who dances in a suit and shoes chases the woman with his hands on her waist, the woman is barefoot and always has one hand behind her back.

The woman’s dress consists of a wide rotunda skirt and in the midst of jumping and walking she follows the game of seduction of the man.

12. Creole Waltz

It is a musical genre typical of Peru, born during the 19th century. In the past, they danced and sang in alleys, lots and private homes. It was accompanied by guitars, and later by piano and bass.

13. Shortcut of blacks

It has a strong religious influence, it is originally from Ica. The dance narrates the birth of Jesus and the visit of the Magi. The men are dressed in white and sing verses accompanied by violins and bells.


Feldman, H. (2006). Black rhythms of Peru: reviving African musical heritage in the Black Pacific. Wesleyan University Press.
Levine, LW (1978). Black culture and black consciousness: Afro-American folk thought from slavery to freedom. Oxford University Press.

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