Paraguayan dance had a history parallel to that of theater, progressing based on a strong Spanish influence. The Polka dance, known today as the typical beat of Paraguay, takes after the European polka brought by colonizers, and the traditional dances, like the Pericón, la Palomita, el Chopï and the Solito, emerged as popular variations to ballroom dances performed by the aristocrats.
Until well into the the 20th Century, dance in Paraguay was limited to these popular forms and to the classical dance that had begun to be taught in schools like those run by Tala Ern de Retivoff and Bertha Ortiz Faithman. Among the first important dance troops that were formed are the Municipal Folkloric Ballet and the Municipal Classical and Modern Ballet, in the second half of the 20th Century. Among the names that made headway for dance in Paraguay are Teresa Capurro, Celia Ruiz de Domínguez, Reina Menchaca, Nicole Dijhuis, and the brother-sister duo of Miguel and Perla Bonnín.
Contemporary dance language began to filter into Paraguay in the 80s, with the arrival of some foreign instructors and the introduction of an internship for Paraguayan dancers to dance with important dance companies abroad. The most renowned name in this period, continuing the classical lineage of dance in the majority of her roles of repertoir, was Eliana Rodas.
Among the innovators of Paraguayan dance are Graciela Meza, Marisol Pecci, Carmiña Martínez, Mary Carmen Niela and Wal Mayans. The National Ballet and other new casts opened the way for this dance, that today takes on worldwide and indigenous subjects with a new language that does not turn away from combining with theater or other forms of artistic expression.