Peruvian traditions – Horses and dance

peruvian paso horses and marinera

My main aim while in Peru is to discover as much as possible about the history, culture and the people. Therefore, I jumped on the opportunity to watch a horse and dance show at the first occasion.

Peruvian Paso Horses

Peruvians are very proud of their breed called “Peruvian Paso” which in equestrian circles is known for its very smooth ride. The ancestors of these horses had arrived at South America with the Spanish conquistadors. Before that, horses were unknown to the whole American continent. Similarly, riding animals was something new to the indigenous people; the endemic llamas, alpacas and vicuñas are to small to climb on them.

Peruvian Paso Horse
Peruvian Paso Horse

Since the Spaniards brought the horses here, the breed hasn’t had any contact with European horses. Based on this and the selection by the breeders, the Peruvian horses are particular in their body proportions (smaller than their European cousins). Their gait, called “paso llano“, is also very specific for this type. The nearby city Trujillo is actually considered the “cradle of the Peruvian Paso Horse.”

Peruvian Paso Horse show
Peruvian Paso Horses galloping together in the “paso llano” mode.

Watch a video I shot about the famous “paso llano” of the Peruvian horses.

La Marinera Norteña

The other highlight of the show was the so-called “marinera norteña“. As its name reveals, the dance originates from the northern part of the country. This dance is incredibly elegant, danced with fine clothes. Interestingly only the man wears shoes, while the woman dances barefoot.

Marinera norteña
“Marinera norteña” – North Peruvian dance

An interesting version of the dance is when the man mounts on the horse and directs it to follow the rhythm and the lady who dances on the floor.

Watch the video about the pair dancing. You might find the version with the horse dancing interesting too:).

So, all in all, the show was a great opportunity to learn more about how cheerful and skillful North-Peruvians are, through their colourful traditions. The hour-long show under the harsh sun made me also wonder about how North-Peruvian beers are…

 

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