Ana María Maurer
Argentine Folkloric Dance
This traditional dance was at its beginnings a variance of the "Cielito", as the "Media Caña".
According to some authors, one of the variances of the "Cielito" with couples dancing, was performed with the
help of a caller (1) who received the name of "Pericón", since this variance of the "Cielito Apericonado", after some
years, this way of dancing the "Cielito" became more important and got to be held as a independent dance and took
the name of "Pericón".
En 1817, as an independent dance, was taken by San Martín to Chile, along with the "Cielito", the "Sajuriana" and
the "Cuando" where they became very popular.
During the first years of Argentine independence it was danced in the country and in the ball rooms of the cities of
the pampas, the litoral and center areas. In Buenos Aires province was popular till 1840.
Sarmiento, in his book, Provincial remembrances, tells that he danced "Pericones" with his teacher, priest Jose
de Oro in San Francisco del Monte, San Luis, in 1826.
In 1880, its popularity diminishes but fortunately the Podesta brothers include it in their circus spectacle
"Juan Moreira" thus turning it in the national dance.
It's a group dance, with couples that dance alone or together.
Normally it is danced by 8 couples but this number can change but it has to be an even number of couples.
Basic step, position of hands and arms for the different figurse.
Basic accessory: Handkerchief (light blue for women, white for men).
All the figures must begin with the right food. Except those that begin like a mirror, where one of the couples or
dancers must begin with the left foot. e.g. Swinging to the center waltz.
The dancers will arrange themselves in two lines one in front of the other, 4 couples on each side, women to
the right of their mates.
The couples are numbered from one to eight. The odd ones with their left side to the audience, the man of
the first couple (number one) (his left side to the audience) is called "Periconero" (1).
The amount of beats is not fixed (but always it must be an even number) .
The caller announces each figure with the Preemptive voice "AURA"
e.g.Swinging to the right when I call out "AURA"
and the figure will not begin until the caller says ¡ AURA !
1 - Swinging to the right at the Aura (2) call.... ¡ Aura !
Beginning with the right foot and to the right do the basic step to the side, afterward swing to the left and
vice versa. The hands in castanets position.uifolklore.com.ar
2 - Mirror to the front and stop..... ¡ Aura !
Odd couples (left side to the audience): Hold their left hands, the man will make his lady do a counter-clock-wise
turn to place her facing the audience, at the same time he will also place himself in the same way. The left hands still
holding each other are kept at the side and in front of the lady's head.The right hands are also held behind the man's waist.
Even couples (right side to the audience): Hold their right hands, the man will make his lady do a clock-wise turn
to place her facing the audience, at the same time he will also place himself in the same way. The right hands still
holding each other are kept at the side and in front of the lady's head. The left hands are also held behind the man's waist.
It is recommended to do the figure with four beats .
3 - Swinging to the center...... ¡ Aura !
Odd couples (left side to the audience) beginning with the left foot (basic step to the side)..
Even couples (flanco derecho al público) beginning with the left foot (basic step to the side)....
4 - Turn and to their position...... ¡ Aura !
The odd men (left side)make their mates turn counter-clock-wise and return to their original position. So as
to be in the original lines as when the dance began.
The even men (right side) make their mates turn colck-wise and return to their original position. So as to be
in the original lines as when the dance began..
5 - Continue swinging....... ¡ Aura !
The same figure 1
6 - Demand to the other side...... ¡ Aura !
For a better synchrony, this figure can be done in two parts:
1° Prepare for the la Demand... ¡Aura!,
While the couples are swinging, the man extends his left hand with its palm up and the woman will put her left
palm on it. Then the man will hold the lady by the waist (2 beats). The other hand of the woman on her skirt.
2° Demand with the other woman........ ¡Aura!
The couple go to the center, the man goes back to his base. The ladies meet each other (e.g.
N° 1 and N° 2) and in the second beat they will hold their right hands, half turn and offering the man of the other couple
her left hand, finishes other half turn so that she rests in the line and in a position to return to her base.
Now the woman goes again to the center takes the right hand of the other and they will half turn offering her left hand
to her original mate and they both will half turn again.
This figure has to be done by all the couples at the same time and can be repeated as many times as the "Periconero"
wishes but it is very important that before beginning the next figure, the couples are all together.
7 - Bunch of girls to the center, we a "gatito"..... ¡ Aura !
In groups of 4 the women meet at the center (1,2,3,4,); (5,6,7,8,) They hold their hands and make a whole turn, with
their free hand on their skirts.
The men with castanets and the basic step will turn (even with even, odd with odd; 1 and 3, 2 and 4,....)
8 - The men on their knees and the women crown them...... ¡ Aura !
The men (left side) kneel to the left facing of the audience raising their right arm and putting their left hand on their
The men (right side ) kneel to the right facing the audience raising their left arm and putting their right hand on their
(They will be in two parallel lines 1 with 2; 3 with 4; 5 with 6 and 7 with 8)
The women that were making the bunch in the center will approach their mates offering the hand going around their
mates make a whole turn.
(Odd clock-wise Even counter clock wise)
9 - We go with a waltz...... ¡ Aura !
After a counter-clock-wise turn of the woman (left hand of the man on right hand of the woman), the couples will form
a wheel and begin to waltz (ladies backwards)
10 - Waltz with other couples.......... ¡ Aura !
After a counter-clock-wise turn with his companion the man leaves her and gets a new mate with other counter clock
wise turn and continue waltzing.
11 - One no the other yes...... ¡ Aura !
The man makes his occasional mate turn counter clock wise (farewell), lets the next woman pass by with counter clock
wise turn and then gets the second woman also with a counter clock wise turn and continues waltzing.
12 - With the next one a load on the shoulder..... ¡ Aura !
Leaving his occasional mate with a counter clock wise turn, the man waits for the next woman making a wheel and
with his back towards the center. When she gets near him he offers his left hand an the woman holding it with her
left hand goes around the man and stops behind him also holding his right hand making the "loading", the man with
his hands upwards, at shoulders' height and she with her palms downwards.
She will remain at the right and slightly behind of her mate and they both go forward with the basic step makind a wheel.
13 - The women lead the men...... ¡ Aura !
Moving the right hand downwards and the left upwards women turn clock wise and step facing them offering their
hands with their palms upwards.
14 - The men on step to the center and wait for their mates.... ¡ Aura !
Releasing the right hand the man puts his left hand on his mates waist thus they make a clock wise turn with the man as
pivot, when they finish it the man has to be with his back to the center of the wheel and the woman free to continue
dancing in search of her original mate.
15 - When they met their mate big wheel...... ¡ Aura !
The woman will place herself to the right of the man and he offers her his right hand and she holds it also with
her right hand turning her clock wise and places her to his right, now the couples are looking at the center and
in a wheel.
16 - Get ready for the "relaciones"(3)....... ¡ Aura !
The wheel is opened in the front (1 and 2) and rear ( 7 and 8) and couples line up as in the beginning.
Each couple waltzes to the center of the line and says its "relación";
When the couple gets there, the man turns his mate counter clock wise, leaving her with her back to the audience,
and the man says his "relación", then he leads her to his place with a turn with their right hands and she says hers'.
After finishing their "relaciones" and after a counter clock wise tur of the lady the waltz to their original position.
Then other couples do the same although not all of them must say a "relación".
17 - Continue swinging....... ¡ Aura !
18 - "Puentecito" (4) the men to the center....... ¡ Aura !
Men go to the center hold their hands and look to the audience. Then woman go around their mates (always in front
of them and go to the front. The lady N° 1 will meet N° 2 and holding their hands go under the "puentecito" till they
get to the end, then each woman turns to their side and places herself to the right of her mate holding his hands
and putting her free one on her skirt.
19 - Swinging to the right and to the left....... ¡ Aura !
The first two couples (1 and 2) begin to swing to the right, while the second two (3 and 4) swing to the left and so on.
20 - Chain.......... ¡ Aura !
The couples holding their right hands, stay one in front of the other and begin the per course of the chain.
21 - When they meet get to your mate, return....... ¡ Aura !
When they meet their mates again, they offer their right hands in "molinete" (5) position and after a half
"molinete" to change the direction they return to the original point.
22 - When they meet their mates, a walk through the fields... ¡ Aura !
When the couples meet for the second time, the man offers his arm to the woman who takes it with her left arm
and then both turn (the man is the pivot), leaving the men inside (women outside) of wheel.
23 - Take your handkerchiefs to form the national flag... ¡ Aura !
The dancers take their handkerchiefs in triangle and the left hand of the man is higher than the right hand of
the woman (handkerchiefs with some inclination).
24 - The flag, the women to the center....... ¡ Aura !
Each couple half turns (the man as pivot),to place the woman at the center drawing the national flag with their
right hands (handkerchiefs with some inclination).
25 - The flag of the men..... ¡ Aura !
The same figure as in 24, (the women is the pivot) holding the men their left hands (handkerchiefs with some inclination).
26 - Big wheel with handkerchiefs...... ¡ Aura !
The couples open up holding their inward hands and make a big wheel, everybody looks to the center, and holds
their hands with their handkerchiefs at chest level.
27 - "Puentecito" of handkerchiefs...... ¡ Aura !
The first couple goes to the center with their handkerchiefs stretched between their hands and holding the inside hands,
the other couples follow them. When the first couple gets to the front of the stage they turn (the woman clockwise and
the man counter clock wise) and holding again the inside hands (her left hand and his right hand) they go under the
"puentecito" created by the other couples. Each couple does the same.
When the first couple gets again to the center they go to the left the second to the right and so on until the last couple
is facing the audience (they have not gone under the "puentecito"), Now they are all in a half circle holding
themselves from the tip of their handkerchiefs.
28- Turn of the women and final greetings..... ¡ Aura !
The woman turns, tying her handkerchiefs to her neck, holds the man by the arm while he salutes with his left hand up
holding his handkerchief.
The man holds with his right hand the tip of his mates' handkerchief to make it easier for her to tie it.
COMMENTS: It is possible to do other figures in accordance to the dance ( canasta, cruz del sur, etc...)
(1) "Periconero": Caller, Master of Ceremony.
(2) "Aura": It's a modification of the word " ahora" meaning Now and its the order to begin the figure.
(3) "Relaciones": Short verse or poem generally funny which any of the dancers says during this part of the Pericón
(4) "Puentecito": It's a figure done by pairs holding their hands over the head so that someone can go under their arms.
(5) "Molinete": Is a figure in which the couple link their arms at the elbow to make a turn.
Video: Course of Pericón Nacional
Many thanks to my teacher, Professor Alberto Barrientos (National School of Dances) with whom I had the privilege
of shareing the National Pericon, in several places at the Federal Capital and Great Buenos Aires.
Remedio Triunfo Zamba