he origin of the Marinera dance gets lost in the labyrinth of the centuries. Some people affirm that it comes from the Baroque and romantic Europe characterized by the retinue dances in the fancy salons, like the minuet.
The sustenance of this hypothesis is based on the fact that
before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors dances on couples didn't exist, because the dance and pre-colombinan music were made for the collective enjoyment; the use of handkerchiefs was not a common practice neither.
Dancing in couples simulating the courtship could definitely have arrived with the Spaniards. In the specific case of La Marinera, the town added it percussion and claps, besides strings and song.
Other specialists believe that La Marinera comes from the zamacueca or mozamala, a dance with African and European roots.
The mozamala, prodigal in sensuality and rapturous until the impudence dance, became in the Colonial Peru the funeral indigenous zamacueca.
When this dance arrived to the city it was rebaptized as "mozamala", because inspired black chinganeros danced it with "low reputation" women nicknamed "Mozas Malas".
After the independence, the dance was assimilated by the dominant classes that added it Hispanic and French features, to transform it into an elegant salon dance.
The dance was rebaptized as Marinera in honor of the Naval Army of Peru but, beyond the homage to the Peruvian army, the name change had other reasons.
They say during the War of the Pacific (1879-1883), the Chilean soldiers and Peruvians intoned zamacueca letters. As the Chileans called it "cueca" or "Chilean", the writer Abelardo Gamarra, nicknamed El Tunante, decided to call it Marinera to avoid the similarity, without knowing that more than one century after that name would denominate the most representative dance of Peru.
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