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Güegüence, central character in a famous Nicaraguan folk dance. Although it was performed until well into the twentieth century, the Baile del Güegüence (Güegüence's Dance) dates from the sixteenth century. Through their performance the dancers portray the clash of two peoples and the ability of indigenous cultures to survive such assault, through passive resistance and syncretism. The cast of characters includes Spanish and Creole officials who make demands on Güegüence, representing the Indians and Ladinos. The dance itself, though highly comical and entertaining, contains a clear message as Güegüence evades the authorities' orders by feigning deafness and ignorance. Although Güegüence is portrayed as the more clever and resilient of the combatants, the dance ends in accommodation when the son of Güegüence marries the governor's daughter. Symbolically, such a union implies the merging of the two to create a new people, but Güegüence continues to lament the new conditions. The persistence and continued popularity of the Baile del Güegüence indicates its relevance for the indigenous elements of Nicaraguan and Central American society that continue to struggle with authority and a foreign culture.

See alsoMusic: Popular Music and Dance .


Daniel G. Brinton, ed., The Güegüence: A Comedy in the Nahuatl-Spanish Dialect of Nicaragua (1883).

Enrique Peña Hernández, Folklore de Nicaragua (1968).

Francisco Pérez Hernández, Estudios del folklore nicaragüense (1968).

Emilio Álvarez Lejarza, El Güegüence: Comedia-bailete de la época colonial (1977).

Additional Bibliography

Silva, Fernando. La historia natural de el Güegüence. Managua: Academia Nicaraguüense de la Lengua, 2002.

                                              Karen Racine