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Dance, Theater and Comedy

Ecuador's deeply rooted history, variety of cultures and geography has treated its artistic expressions no differently: The evolution of dance, theater and comedy has taken many forms. All these can easily be combined, because dance often takes the form of theater and vice-versa, and comedy is a great artistic expression.


Marimba, the official dance of Ecuador, was created and popularized by the Afro-Ecuadorian population. The currulao portion of the dance performance corresponds with the rhythm of the marimba instrument, which resembles a xylophone, and has strong roots in West African Bantu and Mande heritage. The dance signifies freedom from colonizers.

Afro-Ecuadorians were able to fend off the Spaniards in the coastal city of Esmeraldas until the mestizo encroached on their land in search of mineral resources. The mestizos regulated the Afro-Ecuadorians’ use of the currulao dance, prohibiting them from performing unless they possessed a specific license. But in the 1970s the Afro-Ecuadorians reclaimed their power and formed dance troupes, in order to spread and preserve the knowledge and technique of their music and dance to new generations. Often this music and dance is combined with theater to tell the rich history of the Afro-Ecuadorian culture.

Ballet has swept into Ecuador in colossal form, especially in the capital city of Quito. One of Ecuador's ballet companies, Ballet FolklĂłrico Ecuatoriano de Virginia Rosero has, in recent years, traveled around the world representing the indigenous culture of Ecuador. Ballet companies usually encompass folkloric dances portraying all traditions, including Inti Raymi, Amazonian dance, mestizo dance, and bombas from Chota.

In larger towns and cities salsa has become the modern dance of choice. Salsa is usually performed by partners, moving to a brisk beat.


Ecuador's history of theater and modern productions offers insight into its true culture. During the pre-Columbian period, plays were once pure creations of improvisation. Theater was banned by the Spanish colonists because the leaders deemed the artistic expression to pose too much a threat to their succinct society. But through it all, theater has helped preserve the perils and hardships the country has had to face, and expresses it in all its beauty.

In the past couple of decades, theaters have experienced cutbacks in funding, hindering their ability to function at a high level. This could be due to the rising trend in film production or a simple lack of interest, but there is an esoteric triumph of individuals working to keep the tradition very alive.

An example of this is ''Malayerba,” a politically and economically independent theater group. For more than 30 years, it has traveled, addressing relationships between men and women and domestic violence.

A lot of great theater houses and productions can be found in cities, especially in Cuenca, the cultural capital of Ecuador.


Comedy in the form of theater, stand-up and performances have not made too large of a break in Ecuador. Comedians and street performers are still quite frequently seen on weekends however, and you'll likely find them at the center of where the crowds gather either at the Independence Square (in Old Town) or La Carolina park (in Northern Quito).

Ecuadorian TV has some questionable shows regarding their version of what's considered humorous. Shows like Mi Recinto (My ‘Hood) or La Pareja Feliz (The Happy Couple) tend to contain explicit racist, sexist and discriminatory offenses, as well as poor production and acting.

La informaciĂłn y el contenido multimedia, publicados por la Agencia de Noticias Andes, son de carĂĄcter pĂșblico, libre y gratuito. Pueden ser reproducidos con la obligatoriedad de citar la

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Ecuador: Latin America: Top Ten Things You Didn’t Know Were Food!, Music in Ecuador and Holidays and Fiestas.

09 Oct 2013

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