Children of Peruvians Keep ‘Marinera’ Alive in Westchester

The group of children of Peruvian parents and their marinera instructor at a recent rehearsal held at St. Peter’s Church in Port Chester. (Photo via Westchester Hispano)

They are very young, some of them children, and they were born in the United States of Peruvian parents who have something very important in common: They all love [the traditional Peruvian dance] “marinera,” practice it regularly and will travel anywhere to join dance contests, even Peru and Canada, where some of the children have already won competitions.

The children have the support of their parents, who all contributed to fly a marinera norteña [Northern] instructor all the way from Trujillo to the United States to train these youths.

Isaac Esquivel-Llatas, the teacher who was invited to train the kids for three weeks, explained that he first prepares the competitors individually for an hour, and then has them practice in pairs for another hour. They will participate in the Concurso Nacional de Marinera (National Marinera Competition) – in Trujillo, Peru, organized by Club Libertad. The contest takes place over the course of one week, between Jan. 20 and 27.

“I am very happy to see the interest and enthusiasm these children and teens from here have. They love marineras,” said Esquivel, who has won the contest a number of times. His success began in 2012, when he won first place in the junior category in Trujillo and then became world champion with his partner the same year.

The rehearsal took place in a room provided by St. Peter’s Church, in Port Chester, thanks to the support and arrangements made by Port Chester Trustee Luis Marino.

Abraham Cáceres, 14, has been dancing for five years. (…) “I am very happy dancing marineras, and it makes me feel great because we are able to dance in our own style. That is very exciting to me,” said Abraham, who was accompanied by his mother, Roxana Cáceres.

“We always support him, and we are very happy that he won first place in New York in the Beginners B category and second place in Canada,” said Cáceres.

The children who will compete this year in the Trujillo contest were at the practice session. One of them, Jesús Salazar, 10, who will fly to Peru soon, has a good chance of winning.

“My children have been practicing since they were 5 and started competing at 10,” said Tatiana Pastor-Salazar, mother of 12-year-old twins Jesús and Fernanda Salazar, who live in Connecticut.

Fernanda won a prize in Toronto, Canada, and was also named inter-academy queen at Trujillo’s Club Libertad. Jesús finished in third place at a recent competition in Virginia, and in the next few days he will travel to Trujillo with his partner to participate in the National Marinera Contest, explained the of the of the Salazars.

Another participant will be Sheyla Hernando, 9, who started dancing marinera at the age of 5. Her grandparents are from Trujillo and her mother, a marinera enthusiast, introduced her to the dance.

(…) Marco Soto, 9, will also travel to Trujillo on Jan. 15 to participate as Sheyla’s partner to compete in the world’s most important event of Peruvian marinera.

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