Traditional Music and Dancing in Panama

These dresses are truly works of art. Polleras can cost up to several thousand dollars (I heard of one that cost $22,000) and can take up to one year to make. Women wear beautiful jeweled hair accessories and necklaces. The head pieces are called tembleques. Tembleque in Spanish means “trembling”. The headpieces are named this because they move around and shake while the women dance to the typical music. Often, the necklaces are made of gold and make the outfit even more expensive.

Want to see examples of pollera in a dance performance? Take a look at this video. I also wanted to share this video as an example of another type of popular music called Cumbia. It is a mix of Hispanic and African music and dance.

Why does the community have this tradition?:

The tamborito dance and the pollera dress come from Spanish and African influence and culture. The tamborito dance dates to the 17th century. The dance is performed at large cultural festivals to celebrate the history of Panama. Originally, the dance was performed as a “courtship” dance where the man and the woman try to impress each other with their dancing. The pollera is such an important part of Panama’s history that there is a parade every year called "The 1,000 Polleras Parade" where thousands of women wear the traditional dress.

Is this tradition connected to its environment? How?:

This music and these dances are not directly related to the environment. However, sometimes in the tamborito songs, the singers talk about being proud of living and working on the farmland.