Traditional Wititi Dancing in Arequipa

Originating in the Colca Canyon, Wititi dancing is important and unique enough to be included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Most visitors to the Colca Canyon see touristic Wititi dancing in town squares or at folkloric evenings but at Arequipa’s Yanahuara Plaza I was lucky enough to watch an informal performance.

Wititi dancing and costume, Plaza de Yanahuara, Arequipa

A woman in Collagua dress dances with a Wititi

Performed by the pre-Inca Collagua of eastern Colca and Cabana of western Colca, the dance involves the Wititi (male) serenading with the female. Why Wititis wore hats covering their faces and dresses is unknown but two theories are:

  • a military strategy to confuse enemies
  • allowing Wititis to approach maidens without arousing suspicion

Wititi dancing and costume, Plaza de Yanahuara, Arequipa

A woman in Cabana dress (note rounder hat) and a Wititi

Wititi dancing and costume, Plaza de Yanahuara, Arequipa

Two Wititis spinning around next to a large ceramic pot at Yanahuara Plaza

Video of the Wititi dancing at Yanahuara Plaza

Also at the plaza was a wedding party taking photos. The party members were alternative in their appearance and contrasted distinctly from the Wititi dancers.

Alternative wedding photos, Plaza de Yanahuara

Wedding party members at Yanahuara Plaza, Arequipa

Of course the bride and groom wanted a photo with the dancers.

Alternative wedding photos, Plaza de YanahuaraThe alternative bride and groom with the traditional Wititi dancers

More photos of the Wititi dancers and their colourful costumes and unique hats:

Wititi dancing and costume, Plaza de Yanahuara, Arequipa

Wititi dancing and costume, Plaza de Yanahuara, Arequipa

Wititi dancing and costume, Plaza de Yanahuara, ArequipaWititi dancing and costume, Plaza de Yanahuara, Arequipa

Wititi dancing and costume, Plaza de Yanahuara, Arequipa Wititi dancing and costume, Plaza de Yanahuara, Arequipa

One thought on “Traditional Wititi Dancing in Arequipa

Leave a Reply to Brenda Taheny Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.