Declared a Cultural Heritage of Peru in 2011, the tunantada dance (possibly taken from Quechua words tunan and anti, meaning “heights” and “autochthonous,” respectively) is performed in highlands across Peru, perhaps most notably in the Montaro Valley (Valle de Montaro).
Located in Junin, the Montaro Valley holds an annual festival in honor of patron saints, San Sebastian and San Fabian. If you don’t already have plans for this January 20 (a Friday), consider heading to south central Peru.
The dance steps tell the colonial history of Jauja, a city of the valley.
“The troupe moves with a jaunt more lively than any other in the Mantaro Valley. With it, whips, canes, handkerchiefs. Masks, ties, boots, spurs, skirts, and shiny jewelry and llicllas. More than a hundred men and women, members of the Selection of Tunanteros of the Valle, of Sicaya, dancing, almost in ecstasy, with sounds of tireless harps, violins, clarinets and saxophones,” described journalist Luis Silva Nole, in 2014 publication of El Comercio.
Just 8 km from Huancayo city, Sicaya is a village in Montaro Valley filled with tradition and folklore. There are many families of European descent, as its history tells of Spanish viceroyalty.