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As regular readers know, I have a huge soft spot in my heart for the people and cultural traditions of the Zapotec village, Teotitlán del Valle.  Blogger buddy Chris and I go out there often, especially for their major festivals where the Danza de la Pluma is performed.  Earlier this month, a new group of danzantes de promesa assumed the sacred 3-year commitment to perform the Danza de la Pluma and, for the first time in recent memory, they were selected to dance in this year’s official Guelaguetza.  As you can see from the Vive Oaxaca video below, their 17-minute performance Monday evening was spectacular!

¡Felicidades! to the band, Los Reformistas, led by Maestro Antonio Servando Bautista González; to the breathtaking dancing of Sergio Gutiérrez Bautista (Moctezuma), who was front and center and flawless during the entire performance; and to all the Danzantes, who impressively executed the complicated and visually stunning choreography of Maestro Javier Gutiérrez Hernandez.  While I may only be a (albeit, frequent) visitor to Teotitlán del Valle, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly proud of the dancers and the way they represented their strong, vibrant, and historic community.

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The program of delegations for Guelaguetza 2016 is out and, according to all reports, the show will go on!  And, at long last, this year the Danzantes de Promesa from Teotitlán del Valle have been invited to perform.  It was the talk of the village this past weekend; the pride in their history and traditions and in this new group of dancers was palpable.

delegaciones guelaguetza 2016 (1)

As you can see above, they will be performing on Monday evening, July 25.  Though I won’t be there in person, I will be rushing home from the Guelaguetza celebration in Reyes Etla to watch the live TV broadcast.  Hopefully, as in past years, both the morning and evening performances on both Mondays will be live-streamed.  I will post the link, once I know.

delegaciones guelaguetza 2016 (2)

To whet your appetite, here is my short video of the Guelaguetza 2014 performance I attended at the Guelaguetza Auditorium on Cerro del Fortín.

If this tempts you to come, please do!  Hotels have experienced a 32% cancellation rate, so you should have no trouble reserving a room.  And, the restaurants and artisans could really use your support.  While there are only a few reserved seats available through Ticketmaster at the performances up on Cerro del Fortín, local communities in the valley host their own Guelaguezas that are small, free, and provide an up-close and personal view.  In addition, the delegations dance their way through the streets of Oaxaca on the two Saturdays prior the performances, there are artisan ferias and food festivals in the city and surrounding villages to experience and enjoy.

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To watch or listen to this year’s Guelaguetza performances live from Cerro Fortín today (July 20), and next Monday (July 27), at 10 AM and 5 PM (Central Daylight Time):  http://www.viveoaxaca.org/2015/07/Guelaguetza2015EnVivo.html

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Enjoy!

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Storm clouds were gathering on Tuesday afternoon, as we drove out to Teotitlán del Valle for this year’s first performance of the Danza de la Pluma.  However, the clouds were chased away and the plaza in front of Templo de la Preciosa Sangre de Jesucristo was bathed and blessed with the light and shadows of the golden hour.

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(ps)  For a Moctezuma eye view of the dance, check out Chris’s Moctezuma Cam post.

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Last year, wearing the whitest of white huipiles, skirts, shirts, and pants, the delegation from San Melchor Betaza, in the Sierra Norte Region of Oaxaca, danced the sones and jarabes from their community.

IMG_4694IMG_4695IMG_4696I don’t know how the turkey felt as he took center stage when Ocotlán de Morelos, from the Valles Centrales Region, performed La Llevada del Guajolote, a dance dating to the 19th century.

IMG_4802IMG_4805 IMG_4803The dances by the delegation from San Andrés Huaxpaltepec, from the Costa Region, offered the action of the Fandango de Cajón and the grace of the Mayordomía with women wearing stark white mandiles (shawls) and caracol dyed purple pozahuancos (wrap skirts).

IMG_4817IMG_4828IMG_4845As the first few notes of the Canción Mixteca were played, the audience rose and, as one, began waving their hats and singing the beloved song of the Mixteca Region.  With the audience warmed up, the gals from Huajuapan de León began dancing the Jarabe Mixteco — twirling and tempting the guys with their flirty skirts.

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IMG_4869IMG_4877IMG_4880Click HERE for last Monday’s part 1.  Stay tuned for more next Monday, as the countdown to this year’s Guelaguetza festivities continues.

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Last Sunday, Oaxaca bid adiós to the 10º Nacional Festival de Danzón, the stately dance from Cuba that has captivated Oaxaca.  Alas, I only managed to catch the very end.  But, as always, I was charmed by the formality and style and intensity and joy — a tradition kept alive by those in their latter years…

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… and by the young.

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Several well-known danzones were composed Amador Pérez Dimas from Villa de Zaachila, ten miles southwest of Oaxaca city.

For a taste of danzón, here is brief snippet from the close of the festival.  By the way, the band is Banda Santa Cecilia from Teotitlán del Valle, a band we will be hearing several times next week during the the multi-day fiesta honoring Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

If you are in Oaxaca, you can experience Danzón for yourself on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM, either under the laurels on the Zócalo or on the Alcalá near Santo Domingo, depending on the state of the Zócalo — occupied or not occupied.

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As a background to the December 12, Fiesta a la Virgen de Guadalupe performance of the Danza de la Pluma in Teotitlán del Valle, mañana (Dec. 10, 2014) at 5:00 PM at the Oaxaca Lending Library, Chris (of Oaxaca-The Year After fame) and I are doing a presentation about the Danza de la Pluma in Teotitlán del Valle.

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From the library’s description of the talk, “The Danza de la Pluma or Dance of the Conquistadors is one of the most famous dances performed in Oaxaca.  Join Shannon and Chris for a presentation filled with photos and video of their many times observing and chronicling this beautiful dance.”

Alas, it’s not free.  Besides memberships, presentations like this are what keeps the library afloat.  The cost is 70 pesos for OLL members and 100 pesos for non-members.  Hope to see you there!

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Along with blogger buddy Chris, I’ve been immersed in putting together a presentation for the Oaxaca Lending Library on the Danza de la Pluma, as it’s performed in Teotitlán del Valle.  On the superficial level, the Danza relates the story of the Conquest.  But, as is the genius of art, it reaches into our hearts and souls and explores and communicates the truths we feel.

And so, this brief video from classmates of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students touched me deeply.

The ballet needs to tell its own story in such a way it can be received without having to be translated into language.  –Twyla Tharp

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So much to see and do, so little time to process photos and post — should all our problems be so enjoyable!  However, before tonight’s Lila Downs concert, tomorrow’s Desfile de Delagaciones (parade of delegations), and Monday’s Guelaguetza in Etla (and that’s only a few of the activities on the dance card), a glimpse from the beginning of Monday evening’s Guelaguetza performance.

Diosa Centéotl, Jacqueline Reyes Rosario Sarabia began the presentation of Lunes del Cerro (aka, la Guelaguetza).

Diosa Centéotl,  Jacqueline Reyes Rosario Sarabia

As tradition dictates, she was followed by the convite (procession) of Chinas Oaxaqueñas with their band, monos, and banners.

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They filled the stage, dancing the Jarabe del Valle to the cheering crowd.

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It was a balmy evening, the view was spectacular, fourteen more delegations danced their way into the night, and a dazzling display of fireworks exploded above the open-air auditorium to conclude the show.

And, they do it all again this coming Monday — hopefully, the kinks will be worked out for the live streaming, so no matter where you are, you can watch and enjoy the morning and/or evening performances.

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Live streaming of the Guelaguetza performances at the Guelaguetza auditorium atop Cerro del Fortín, July 21 and 28 at 10 AM and 5 PM (Central Daylight Time).

http://new.livestream.com/radical-bits/guelaguetza-2014

Update:  La Guelaguetza 2014 is over, however you can view all the performances on Vive Oaxaca’s YouTube channel.

 

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Not only is the previously mentioned Oaxaca FilmFest4 opening tomorrow night, but last night a calenda up Morelos heralded the arrival of the 8th Congreso Nacional de Danzón.  Alas, it was raining, I’m a wimp, and so stayed home.  However, the music coming from the Plaza de la Danza sounded wonderful.  Sigh….

If you are walking around Oaxaca during the next few days, be on the lookout for the guapas y guapos (the guys are all duded up, too) of Danzón.  They are adding a lot of glitz and glamour to the streets of the city.

3 women dressed in glittery dresses

For the uninitiated, Danzón is a very stately dance that originated in Cuba.  However, it seems to be most beloved in Puerto Rico and Mexico.  It has especially flourished in Oaxaca, where one can find dancers young and old dancing under the laurel trees in the Zócalo every Wednesday evening at 6:30.  And, no wonder it has retained its popularity here, according to Wikipedia, “many famous danzones were composed by Oaxacan musicians such as the famous Nereidas and Teléfono de larga distancia, both works of Amador Pérez Dimas, from the town of Zaachila, near Oaxaca city.”

If you aren’t anywhere where Danzón is performed, you can check out the 1991 movie, Danzón:

Julia (Rojo) is a phone operator in Mexico City who divides her time between her job, her daughter and the danzon: a cuban dance very popular in Mexico and Central America. Every wednesday Julia does the danzon with Carmelo (Rergis) in the old “Salon Colonia”. They’ve danced for years but barely know each other. One night Carmelo disappears without a trace. Feeling lonely and sad, Julia takes a train to Veracruz, where she knows Carmelo has a brother. That sudden trip will change Julia’s life forever. IMDB

I haven’t seen the movie, but according to one reviewer, the soundtrack is worth the rental price.  I’m going to try to find it!

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I’ve got to admit that up until yesterday, I was suffering from Guelaguetza burn-out.  In fact, I still have 1000+ photos that need to be weeded down to a more manageable number.

However, then yesterday happened — “Una Guelaguetza muy especial” presented by the very special people of Los Angeles de Luzy.   Sixteen young people with Down’s Syndrome, from the Yucatan, Campeche, and Oaxaca danced the traditional dances of the eight regions of Oaxaca in the Plaza de la Danza.

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Part of Oaxaca’s first Down’s Syndrome festival, it was an inspiring, moving, and incredibly joyful experience — and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.  ¡Muchisimas gracias a Los Angeles de Luzy!

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My mom was a folk dancer.  She had studied ballet, tap, and acrobatic dancing when she was young and brought that training and muscle memory along with her when she took up folk dancing in her mid thirties.  I spent many hours over the years watching her dance; the Kamarinskaya from Russia, Swedish Hambo, Fandango from Portugal, Mexico’s Jarabe Tapatio, and so many more.  In addition to being a talented dancer, she made her own costumes.  A dressmaker’s dummy was a permanent fixture in her bedroom, yards of colorful cotton fabric and braid were piled next to the sewing machine, and in the evenings her hands and eyes were often occupied embroidering pieces for a new costume.

Mom died in 1989, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of her.  So, on this Mother’s Day, this is for you mom…

Multicolored huipil with peacock design

Guatemala

Jewel toned embroidered huipil with peacock design

Zinacatán, Chiapas, Mexico

Black skirt embroidered on the diagonal with flowers

Zinacatán, Chiapas, Mexico

Black dress with gold-tone embroidery on sleeve and bodice.

San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Oaxaca, Mexico

Geometric yellow and red embroidery on purple skirt with lace bottom

Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico

Close up of the back of a brightly embroidered huipil on black velvet

Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico

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As promised…

And, there is SO much more!!!

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In August 2011, Vive Oaxaca launched a campaign to showcase the best of the state through a series of video shorts.  Two have already been released online:

Esto es Zaachila

and, Esto es Guelaguetza

I’m looking forward to Monday night’s online release of, Esto es Oaxaca de Juárez.  I guess you know what my Tuesday morning blog post will be!

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