The 5 Most Popular Traditional Ecuadorian Dances

The traditional dances of Ecuador they are very diverse, which is mainly due to the fact that their rhythms have been mixed or fused with foreign rhythms as a consequence of colonialism and the mixture of races.

Most of these dances originate in the Ecuadorian highlands and although some arose in the pre-Columbian era, the European influence in some cases and African in others is quite remarkable in its evolution over the years.

traditional dances of Ecuador

In the traditional dances of Ecuador, the religious aspect stands out since many of these rhythms have links with ancient rituals carried out in religious celebrations promoted by devotion.

Although at present many of the instruments used to execute these rhythms have foreign origins, the natives of the region had their own before the arrival of the Europeans, such as the pingullo, the rondador, the dulzaina, among others.

Next, five traditional dances from Ecuador.

1- The Hall

From European origins (to be more precise, from the Austrian waltz), this musical genre had its beginning in the neighboring country, Colombia, during the independence war in the Colombian Andes, later moving to Ecuador and later moving to other countries of the American continent. , how to be:

  • Panama
  • Costa Rica
  • The Savior
  • Nicaragua
  • Venezuela
  • Peru

The name"Hall"is a diminutive of the word"step", referring to the short steps of the dance routine, and has three representative ways of putting it into practice:

1- Slow instrumental hall : strongly related to serenades, the slow instrumental corridor is usually linked to nostalgia, mourning, memories, love, disappointments and moments of peace and rest.

2- Party instrumental hall : with a much more lively rhythm, this version is linked to all kinds of parties and events, such as weddings and bullfights.

3- Choreographic hall : very similar to the party instrumental hall used for group choreography. Currently, this representation of the Hall is in disuse.

The most common musical instruments in this dance are the guitar, the piano, the flute, the violin, the tambourine, the harp, among others.

2- The Sanjuanito

This dance exists before the arrival of the Spanish thirds to the American continent and was carried out by the Incas during the rituals of worship of Inti (God of the Sun).

The name"Sanjuanito"has Spanish influence due to the date of birth of San Juan Bautista (the twenty-fourth of June).

The Sanjuanito was popularized in the 20th century, and is a festive and cheerful genre that can be heard in all the events (urban and rural) of Ecuador, dancing in groups holding hands in circles. Some very popular Sanjuanitos are:

  • Sanjuanito from my land
  • hope
  • Poor heart
  • The crying of my quena

To interpret the Sanjuanito, both native instruments (bandolín, dulzaina, rondaror, pingullo, etc.) and foreign instruments (guitar, bass drum, quena, zampoña, etc.) are used and the usual dance attire consists of red garments, espadrilles white, hats of various colors and accessories like necklaces.

3- The Albazo

The name"Albazo"derives from the serenades that were played at dawn to announce the beginning of the popular festivals and its origin goes back to the Spanish when they at dawn played a music in the days of pilgrimage and religious festivals.

Albazo rhythm is cheerful and moved, played by local bands in their entirety, and the most common instruments used are the requinto (small guitar with four strings) and the Creole guitar. Some of the most popular topics are:

  • This old guitar
  • Avecilla
  • Taita Salasaca
  • My life is gone

The albazo has influences from other Spanish-speaking countries of the continent such as Argentina (the zamba), Chile (the cueca) and Peru (the Peruvian sailor).

4- Bomba del Chota

This musical rhythm has its origins in Valle del Chota, and its creators are the afro-descendants of the area.

La Bomba de Chota is a moved rhythm and is danced together in an erotic way; Hip movements are also a complement to this rhythm. The basic instruments used are strings (guitar and requinto) and percussion (güiro).

In particular, this music is not very popular throughout the country; he listens and dances only at the fiestas of Valle de Chota at his local fiestas, and his audience is usually of indigenous and mestizo origin.

As for the costumes, men wear a shirt (long sleeves) and black pants. On the women's side, they dress in pompous blouses, pleated skirts, petticoats, underwear and bottles on the head in some occasions.

5- The Capishca

The Capishca is a moved rhythm heard mainly in the provinces of Azuay and Chimborazo ( inter-Andean region of Ecuador ). The name"Capishca"means"squeeze"and comes from Quichua (verb"capina").

This rhythm is very similar to that of Sanjuanito. During this dance, the male dancer must put his physical condition to the test to dazzle his partner by skillful movements.

The clothing of men is quite simple: a shirt and pants with samarras. On the women's side, they wear two skirts (one raised and one underneath), they have several accessories on their heads, nylon stockings on their legs and cowhide shoes.


Although in some regions the traditional spirit of the country's history is still being discussed, the adolescent public tends to identify more with other types of musical genres.

The musical genres such as reggae, rock and roll, pop, jazz, blues or electronics, have an important demand more than anything in the Ecuadorian youth, especially in the inhabitants of urban areas, prioritizing this type of art before the traditional one.

Also, do not forget the Colombian cumbia, a musical rhythm that has a public of all ages and social classes in the country.


  1. Coba Andrade, C. (1994). Dances and dances in Ecuador. Quito, Ecuador: Abya-Yala Editions.
  2. Carvalho. (1994). Anthology of Ecuadorian folklore . Quito: Ecuadorian association of tourism business executives Abya-Yala.
  3. Rasines, P. (2001). Afro-descendence in Ecuador: race and gender since colonial times . Quito, Ecuador: Abya-Yala Editions.
  4. Paz, H. (2000). Legends and traditions of Ecuador . Quito, Ecuador: Abya-Yala Editions.
  5. University of Cuenca. (nineteen ninety five). The indigenous religious festival in Ecuador . Quito: Abya-Yala EBI Project.

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