Monday, July 28, 2014

Mexican Folk Dance


Mexican folk dance is entrenched deep into Mexican culture. Folk dance is a form of dance developed by a group of people that reflects the traditional life of the people of a certain country or region. Historically these dances for common people have been distinguished from dance forms of the upper classes.

The history of Mexican folk dance can be traced back to the Mesoamerican region that extended from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica. As is the case in many regions, folk dance was designed to please the gods.  However, during the 16th century era of conquistadores, European dance styles – waltz and ballet – began to seep into Mexican folk dance. This merging of culture resulted in popular Mexican folk dance forms.
One of the more familiar folk dances is Concheros. This style of Mexican folk dance that began in Central Mexico and is influenced greatly by Aztec symbols. The dance attire and makeup is even closely related to Aztec culture including the glamorous feathered headdresses and colorful breastplates to the intricate face painting details. In order to dance in the Concheros style, you had to look the part from head to toe.

The term Concheros is derived from concha, which is known as an armadillo shell. Many elements of the natural world – like deer hoof bones and sea shells – became musical instruments.  In this dance style dancers gathering into two circles: older individuals form the inner circle while younger dancers move towards the outside. The circles dance simultaneously in energetic and graceful movements.

This folk dance made its way to California in the mid-1970’s and has become a dance form standard in Mexican American communities.

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