The Chacarera is a dance from northern Argentina that is traditionally performed with guitar, bass drum and violin. It can be accompanied by traditional Spanish singing, or alternatively in Quechua that is typical of Santiago. There are also bilingual and instrumental versions of the music.
The Chacarera is a group dance where partners dance freely, circling each other. It is a mischievous-style dance with, rhythm, agility and festive fun. It is an appreciation of the rural environment, a cultural display of happenings during the last century, throughout the country (with the exception of Patagonia and the coast). It could be said that it is a dance specific to the state of Santiago where it strongly established itself. However, the dance has spread nationwide to northeastern towns such as Tucumán, Salta, Jujuy, Catamarca, La Rioja and Córdoba and almost the entire centre of the country.
The female dancers wear dresses made of two pieces of patterned fabric; the skirts are very full and heavily adorned. The dress is buttoned in a ruffle around the neck and the edges of the overskirt and sleeves match. They wear medium heeled leather shoes and their hair is worn in two loose braids.
The male dancers wear loose trousers and a typical short, straight jacket of which the edges are decorated with smocking. They wear white or colored shirts, and carry a knife in their belts. Some wear braces, others wear wide belts with pockets, They wear a silk handkerchief around their necks with the pointed edges down their backs. Their hats have a shallow crown and are grey, black or light brown. They wear laced up boots, with or without spurs.
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