Posts Tagged ‘Danza de los Zancudos’

Crossing the Plaza de la Danza, on my way to the market this morning, I saw stilt people!

Stilt dancers sitting on ledge, Basilica of Soledad in background

The all-male stilt dancers of Villa de Zaachila were waiting to perform the Danza de los Zancudos at the 22nd conference of the Oaxaca-Centro Alcoholics Anonymous.  Once they took the stage there was much cheering and good-natured catcalls from the 75% male audience

The Dance of the Zancudos originated in the San Pedro neighborhood over 100 years ago and is one of the few places the dance can still be found. The origin of the Dance of the Zancudos is in a promise the inhabitants of Zaachila made to Saint Peter. The story behind it states that an old man encountered an apparition of Saint Peter who asked the community build a church in his name. The apparition appeared each day until it was captured by the local people and enclosed in a small church. Guards were posted at the entrance with rifles and machetes. However, the next day, it was discovered that the saint was no longer there, and he appeared again to the old man who had originally seen him, indicated that God had sent him to protect the village. Eight days remained until the feast of Saint Peter, and the saint asked that the villagers form pairs on stilts to dance. On the feast day, the men danced on stilts while the women surrounded them with candles and incense. The dancers arrived at the foot of a hill where an image of the saint was found, which was brought to the San Pedro neighborhood where a church was constructed for it.  [Wikipedia.  Retrieved, 11/10/2013]

They performed several dances and, to the cries from the audience of, “Otra, otra, otra,” they were ready with an encore.  Baskets that had been tied to their costumes were thrown into the crowd (a la La Guelaguetza) and they exited stage right.  By the way, getting down off the stage on stilts requires a lot of help from your friends.  But once that complexity is navigated, you get to stroll over to a ledge high above everyone’s head, and have a seat.

5 stilt dancers sitting on a ledge.

Reason number 521 to never go anywhere in Oaxaca without my camera!

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