From The Amalia HernandezFolcklore ballet , La Culebra"the snake" La Culebra: Is the story of a town that becomes overrun with
snakes. as the girls encounter them, they first try to shake them off
with their skirts, the men in the field come to their rescue, killing
many snakes with their hats.
beautiful and energetic!!! who said that Mexican were lazy???
"La Bruja" is a traditional dance from the state of Veracruz. Perfomed by Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl. And let me tell you this one is very difficult because you have to keep the flame without moving!
La Bruja: The story of a good witch and her minions (helpers).
The dancers pretend to be flying, spreading their skirts as if they
were wings. The women dance with a flaming candle on their heads, while
maintaining the rhythm of the music with their steps.
dance is central to the pantomimes performed by the Yaquis on all
occasions, religious or secular. Originally intended to guarantee
success in hunting, it is danced by a close-knit society of men who
have spent most of their lives learning their roles. The “deer,”
especially, is portrayed with incredible sensitivity and fidelity.
Wearing only an animal headdress, a kilt made of a rebozo and strings
of ankle rattles, he moves to the music of flute, drum and rasp. His
dramatic death is usually brought about by the “hunters” but he
sometimes falls victim to
widely performed, this spectacular ceremonial is very ancient.
Tenochtitlan had a special plaza where it was regularly staged long
after the Conquest until the Spanish pre-empted the space for their
bullring. A tall pole, rigged with a tiny platform and a framework
was set up. The attached ropes were carefully wound and a musician and
four “flyers” costumed as birds climbed to the platform. While the
musician played and danced obeisance to the four cardinal points the
flyers, who represented those points, attached themselves to the ropes.
As the dance ended, they flung themselves outward to soar in
ever-widening circles until they touched the ground. Ideally, each
flyer made 13 circuits for a total of 52, the number of years in the
all-important calendar cycle.
Ask anyone who's been to Papantla what most impressed them, and
they'll probably say, "The Voladores." Many people who've never been to
the Gulf Coast -- or even to Mexico - will light up in recognition at
the mention of the Voladores. They perform regularly throughout Mexico,
Central and South America. They've performed in several cities in the
United States, and even in Paris and Madrid. So, who are the Voladores,
and why are they famous? And what do they have to do with vanilla?Volador
means flyer - he who flies. It is breathtaking to watch the spectacle
of four men gracefully "flying" upside down from a 75 foot pole secured
only by a rope tied around their waists.
amazing is the musician, called the caporal. Balanced on a narrow
wooden platform without a rope or safety net, the caporal plays a drum
and flute and invokes an ancient spiritual offering in the form of a
As he turns to face the four cardinal directions, he will bend his head
back to his feet, balance on one foot then lean precariously forward,
and perform intricate footwork, all the time playing the flute and
drum! No matter how many times you see this beautiful performance, it
will continue to astonish you, and the plaintive tune of the flute and
drum will remain with you long after you have returned home.
early history of the ceremonial flight of the Voladores is shrouded in
the mists of antiquity. Information about the original ritual was
partially lost when the invading conquerors from Spain destroyed so
many of the documents and codices of the indigenous cultures.
Fortunately, enough survived through legend and oral history and in
materials written by early visitors to New Spain, that anthropologists
and historians have been able to document at least part of the story of
this ancient religious practice and how it has evolved through time.
Totonaca myth tells of a time when there was a great drought, and food
and water grew scarce throughout the land. Five young men decided that
they must send a message to Xipe Totec, God of fertility so that the
rains would return and nurture the soil, and their crops would again
flourish. So they went into the forest and searched for the tallest,
straightest tree they could find.
When they came upon
the perfect tree, they stayed with it overnight, fasting and praying
for the tree's spirit to help them in their quest. The next day they
blessed the tree, then felled it and carried it back to their village,
never allowing it to touch the ground. Only when they decided upon the
perfect location for their ritual, did they set the tree down.
men stripped the tree of its leaves and branches, dug a hole to stand
it upright, then blessed the site with ritual offerings. The men
adorned their bodies with feathers so that they would appear like birds
to Xipe Totec, in hope of attracting the god's attention to their
important request. With vines wrapped around their waists, they secured
themselves to the pole and made their plea through their flight and the
haunting sound of the flute and drum.
times the ritual of the Volador was performed throughout much of Mexico
and extended as far south as Nicaragua. It was performed once every 52
years at the change of the century, and the brotherhood of the
Voladores was passed from father to son.
At the time of
the Conquest, the church fought strongly against what it considered
heathen practices, and indigenous worship and rituals were silenced or
held in secret. Later, the Catholic Church combined native beliefs with
religious dogma, creating a syncretization of faith. The flight of the
Volador was considered an interesting game by Colonial New Spain, and
special plazas were constructed where the Voladores performed for a
curious public. Over time the ritual slowly died out, until finally the
Totonaca and a few Otomi were the only groups performing this ancient
Today, the Totonaca people perform the flight of the Voladores for
several reasons. First, it keeps a part of their traditional culture
alive for everyone to see. Second, it provides additional income for
the Voladores and their families. Non-Totonacas are asked to make a
donation after each flight is completed, as well as for traditional
dances which are frequently performed on weekends and evenings in the
town plazas or in front of cafes. And last, it provides a sense of
group pride. Like other folkloric dances and music from around the
world, it's a way to celebrate heritage and diversity.
Voladores were among the first cultivators of vanilla, and many of them
continue to grow it today. Not all of the early growers were Voladores,
though the Voladores comprised an elite segment of the Totonaca
society. Vanilla continues to have a sacred place in the lives of the
Totonaca in the same way as the flight of the Volador, and the two have
remained integrally connected.
The Voladores are a
source of great pride to everyone in Totonocapan - the region of the
Totonaca. In Papantla, the hub of the vanilla industry, there is even a
large stone Volador that looks down on the city from one of the highest
points in town. Created by world class artist, Teodoro Cano - who is
part Totonaca -- the Volador is a moving testimony to the Totonaca
ancestors who founded Papantla in the 1200s, as well as to those who
continue to maintain the rich cultural legacy in this region of