Considered the national rhythm of Ecuador, the San Juanito's pre-Columbian origins boast joyful rhythms and melancholic melodies. According to musicologists it is a unique combination which denotes the feeling of the Ecuadorian indigenous native.
Today the San Juanito is played with a variety of indigenous instruments such as the rondador ( a small panpipe), the pinguillo (a type of flute), the bandolin (a type of chordophone), and the dulzaina (a intstrument similar to an oboe). These are joined by foreign instruments such as the guitar, quena (a reed flute), drums, zampoñas (a type of panpipe), etc. as well as electronic instruments, which give it a modern style.
For the indigenous native of Ecuador, dancing the San Juanito expresses a communal message of unity, feeling, identity, and relationship with Mother Earth (Pacha mama).
For the mestizo, dancing San Juanito conveys a message of joyful enthusiasm and national identity.
Today the San Juanito is a part of the repertoire of various traditional festivals and social gatherings across the country. During lively festivals, dancers showcase their best moves and dance forming circles and small trains of people.