The national dance of Chile is called the Cueca. This dance has rich historical roots in both African and Native American cultures. Even though Chileans have been dancing the Cueca for years, it wasn’t declared the official dance of Chile until September 1979.
The Cueca is a parody of the courtship of a chicken and rooster. The dancers wave handkerchiefs above their heads during the dance. These handkerchiefs can symbolize the feathers of the bird or the rooster’s comb.
Children dance the Cueca. Picture by Gabriel Ortega Berger.
The choreography (movements) of the Cueca consists of circles, moving in semicircles back and forth (known as half moons), and turning towards the partner and then away.
The dance happens in an imaginary circle, with the man in one half, and the woman in the other. It starts with a promenade where the man invites the woman to join him by offering his arm. This is done while instrumental entry music is played. The couples stand facing each other about three meters apart. Before the song begins, the couple claps their hands in rhythm of the music.
Movements and Steps of the Cueca
You can learn the steps of the dance from the following pages. These are in Spanish but have diagrams outlining the movements:
Those that really know how to dance the Cueca will dress up in traditional Chilean clothing when they dance. This is particularly true during the independence day celebrations every September. The men wear a Chilean cowboy hat, shirt, flannel poncho, riding pants, short jacket, riding boots, and spurs. Women wear a flowered dress with an apron. Here is a video of a school’s Cueca competition that shows the traditional clothing the dancers wear:
Dancing Around the World
To celebrate Chile’s independence, many Chileans will dance the Cueca even though they are far from home. Here is a video of some Chileans dancing the Cueca in Norway:
The Cueca Brava
There are many variations of the Cueca. A very modern and urban form is called the Cueca Brava. In the following video you can see that it has a very different style from the more traditional one shown previously:
Fue un placer haber encontrado esta página y disfrutar leyendo tu explicación de cómo bailar la cueca…
Te felicito por el amor que expresas en esta página y al igual que toda esa gente que te demostró su amor, yo también tuve la oportunidad de expresarlo a otros elderes que conocí un par de años atrás.
Felicidades Joseph y God blesses you every day.
Muchas gracias por visitarme y tus comentarios. Pude aprender unos pasos de la cueca pero me falta mucho todavia para bailar como se ven en los videos.
Jaquavous Swift says
a what is the dance steps and the clothing because i need to know because i doing a reprot on the chile famous dance
You can see steps to the Cueca here:
Learning to dance our national dance
Hola..Okay so I am doing a reaport on the Cueca dance and I need to know what kind of music is played to this dance. Could someone leave a note saying where I could look it up. Gracias.
Luis Astudillo says
Gracias por esta pagina me es y sera util porque estamos preparando unos chicos para bailar cueca en la escuela de mis hijos como chileno que soy quiero que se respete al maximo nuestra tradicion
Carmen Whitaker says
I need to Know the steps because i am making a report on cueca for my homework assignment.
Tierra Huasa says
Felicitaciones, le agregamos un enlace en Tierrahuasa.com
this website helped out a lot for a report i’m doing in spanish class…..ponch out!
Can u please put the steps in english for meh please i need to do a school project on it! 🙂
Hi please help, need to learn how to dance la cueca your first two links are not available have studied the diagrams but would really appreciate if u know where a video instruction on the step by step.
keep up the great work, Viva Chile!
I fixed the broken links.
You may want to try searching youtube.com for cueca videos as there a lot there in both English and Spanish
Hi and Thanks, much appreciated! Your instructions are great on your web page I have seen a lot of the Cueca on the utube videos they are good but I was looking for an instructional one like step by step any ideas where to find one? I really want to learn and master how to dance Cueca! my saying is “I may have la piel de un gringa pero corazón de un latína!” Thanks again and keep up the great job your doing.wait to hear from you Anita
I’m looking for the Chilean Huasa Black dress with hat. I live in Canada. Do you know where I can order one.
woooww esto estotalmente divertido mese todos los bailes i crreo ke chile tiene una gran cultura entretenidaaa 🙂 manado saludos aaa mis amigoos de chile q los amoo ♥
Thank you for the info! It was very helpful!
I’m doing a report on Chile, and I need a dance that originated in Chile. This page says the cueca has African and Native American roots, and I was wondering if anyone knows about a dance that originated in Chile. Thank you!
Im doing a report on this about chiles national dance the cueca, and its history of the modern president and the capital of chile please respond asap
hi i need to know what tipe of music that this dance uses… i an doin a report for school
does anyone know any original composers of the cueca?
Im chilen and all and im doing a project on the whole history of chile. well not entirely but to teach students about my country, such a pain. lol alot of research and this web helped alot. haha. Gracias.
just wana say the cueca is such a neat dance! like it looks fun to learn and watch, i wana wear those poofy dresses~! XD
please send me these pictures so i can use them for a chile project
the project for a fair thank u nd ur dances and pictures are realy kewt
..hi, can anyone send me some musics used for chile dances or the cueca…?,,,,i really need it…im doing a report for school, im from Philippines….thanks
this dance is awesome
i need to learn the dance! muy importante!
Hi – I need to purchase a cueca dress for my little daughter, who is representing Chile in her school Christmas play. We live in Los Angeles, does anybody know where we could get one?
lulu poopoo says
this is the good website It taugt me how to dance this dance
the rjklhfdgk says
i need to know more about Chile