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Dance in Nicaragua

Dance in Nicaragua is as beautifully diverse as the culture itself. The polka and mazurka originated in Eastern Europe; and, folkloric renditions of El Güegüense are inspired by indigenous culture and Spanish rule. Dance is a natural display of mestizaje (the interracial presence that has evolved throughout the country’s history). Nicaraguan dance is as rich in rhythm as it is in story telling.


From Spain, the Nicaraguans acquired traditional clothing and dance, noticeable alongside indigenous beats in performances like the "Toro Huaco" and the famous comedic ballet, “El Güegüense o Macho Ratón.” Both incorporate brightly colored traditional clothing and similarly vibrant masks that serve to tease and entertain. These and other folk dances, such as “El Viejo y La Vieja,” “Aquella Indita,” “Los Diabilitos” and “Las Negras,” are preformed at fiestas and festivals. These dances mock the Spanish conquest, poke fun at old age and playfully embrace sexuality. They encourage community and celebration.


Similarly folkloric but noticeably more provocative, the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua has significantly contributed to the country's culture of dance. Most notable is the Palo de Mayo, which is a song and dance turned month-long festival that allegedly was inspired by a mix of African fertility and rain dances and Germanic paganism, as well as suggestions of Jamaican and British influence. If you happen to be around in May, head to the port town of Bluefields, which is legendary for their Palo de Mayo. Here you will encounter the playfully sensual performance between men and woman around the May Pole (often a tree).


Not all dancing in Nicaragua involves historic tradition or cultural resonance—some is just good old fashioned rhythm. Seemingly born with the ability to dance, Nicaraguans use their musical resources of Regatone, Soca, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Salsa and the like to entertain. Men and women both enjoy a dance that is sexy and intense, a dance that allows them to let loose and have a good time doing what comes natural…busting a move.



Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Nicaragua : Cigar Box, Literature in Nicaragua, Art in Nicaragua, Introduction to Nicaraguan Culture and Ruben Dario.

By Margaret Rode
A self-professed city girl, sassy staff writer Margaret Rode hails from Chicago where she received Bachelor degrees in English Literature and Spanish...
29 Oct 2008

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