The Carnavalito (English: Little Carnival) is a traditional South American dance from the altiplano and puna regions that is practiced in relation to religious festivities. The current form of the dance is an expression of syncretism between indigenous and Spanish colonial culture.
The Carnavalito was danced in the Americas long before the Spanish arrived. Today it is still danced in the Northwestern Argentina (especially in Jujuy and Salta) and in western Bolivia. The music is characterized by the use of instruments such as the quena, siku and the bombo; its origin comes from the Huayno, music similar to the Carnavalito.
Belongs to the group of the collective great dances. It's a cheerful dance, and it must be done with cheerfulness and innocence, as everybody is playing happily.
It is a dance set, dancing in groups or with multiple partners who perform choreographed steps to the beat of the music. The dancers move around the musicians in a row. A woman or a man with a handkerchief (or pennant decorated with ribbons) on the hand is responsible for directing. They all sing the same verse or improvisations.
- Luis Vitale. Música pupular e identidad Latinoamericana.