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The Marinera Contest in Peru

Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 24-01-2023

Every year the city of Trujillo in the north of Peru is filled with joy, rhythm, and color accompanied by marinera music, and thousands of couples from all over the country come to the Mansiche Coliseum to participate in the Trujillo Marinera National Contest. The Trujillo Marinera Festival is a Peruvian cultural event held annually in Trujillo city in January. The event focuses on a marinera dance contest, which is the traditional dance of the city, and Peru´s marinera, the national dance. The festival also presents parades, presentations, and competitions of Peruvian Paso horses. Both the marinera dance and the Peruvian Paso horse have been declared to be part of the cultural heritage of the nation by the Peruvian government. This festival is one of the most important cultural events in the country and has been recognized by the Peruvian government as the National Marinera Capital.


Marinera Dancers

The Marinera has its roots in the Spanish fandango, African zamacueca, and indigenous dances. The dance portrays a couple’s flirtatious pursuit of their partner, with the woman, in her embroidered pollera (skirt) and handkerchief, wooing the man with her graceful movements. The Marinera is an example of the magnificent multiculturalism of Peru. These dances from Europe and Africa were fused with the traditional dances of the ancient Peruvians, and as a result, many years later, formed what we now know as Marinera.


Marinera Dancer and Peruvian Paso Horse


There are several versions of the origin of the Marinera, but the most widespread of them speak of the Hispanic, African and indigenous mixture. Each region has its own style, with variations in the tempo, key, clothing, and steps. The Norteña dance from Trujillo is playfully flirtatious and accompanied by a brass band. The Mochera style, also on the north coast, reflects its rural origins in the dress style. The Limeña is considered the oldest style. The elegantly dressed couples dance to the rhythms of the guitar and cajón box drum. Today, the Marinera is not only a dance but a craft industry for embroiderers, weavers, hat makers, and filigree jewelry artists, among others. Its vitality is expressed in the energy of the dancers, the rhythm of the musicians, and the hands of the artisans.






In 1960 the Club Libertad of Trujillo held the first National Marinera Competition and since then the popularity of this event has reached various cities in the world such as Kyoto, Madrid, and Las Vegas. What originally began as a dance contest has now become an event that brings together the best representatives of each country and in which other activities are carried out such as the coronation of the Festival Queen, the competition of Peruvian Paso Horses, the and the Marathon of Marinera de Corazón.This seven-day show ends with the Perol Party, an event that takes place at the end of each National Marinera Competition. It is attended by hundreds of people, all dressed in white, who, among other activities, enjoy the dance of the Queen of the Marinera of that year.




In short, The National Marinera Contest is one of the best events to learn about the culture and roots of Peru, through dance in the beautiful northern city of Trujillo. Ask us for more information here!