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This dance is a spin-off from the zamacueca and the mozamala. In 1893, Abelardo Gamarra "El Tunante" dubbed the dance the "Marinera", in homage to Peru's naval hero Admiral Miguel Grau, during a piano concert performed by a Lima maiden who was to become a major exponent of the genre, Rosa Mercedes Ayarza de Morales. This encounter gave birth to Peru's best-known marinera, called "La Decana" later rebaptized "La Concheperla".
The marinera has steadily gained a foothold in the country's culture. In 1938, the genre was presented at the Independence Day concert at Lima's Teatro Municipal. Today, there are marinera festivals held all over the country, although the best-known is held in January in Trujillo. The dance is performed in several styles, depending on its place of origin: marinera costeña (the south coast), marinera serrana (the highlands) and marinera norteña (the north).
The dance is energetic, with elegant movements and a highly complex choreography of coordinated and synchronized sequences.
The couple keeps ti me with a handkerchief clutched in one hand, which is also part of the courting ritual, even though the couple never comes into physical contact. Instruments used to perform the marinera limeña include the guitar and Cajon, a box-shaped drum, while a full-blown marching band accompanies the Marinera Norteña.
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