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Aztlán-Azteca Dance Troupe at Teatro Santa Ana

Dance Aztec

By Ana Veronica Ramirez Rodriguez

Before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexicatl territory back in 1519, different tribes in Mesoamerica worshipped many different gods, but often for similar reasons. Whether they were Toltecs, Purépecha, or Chichimeca, these tribes prayed to the god of war, to the goddess of the maguey plant. Each tribe also paid homage to gods representing the water, the wind, the earth, and fire—often referred to in Mexican culture as “the four points.” These were the life-giving elements. These peoples also all worshiped the sacred four directional winds, calling them by various names. For example, Quetzalcoatl was the Aztecs’ main deity, while Kukulkán was the one for the Mayans, but both deities represented wind and water.

Also, long before the arrival of the Spanish, indigenous peoples here had their own cross with a completely different set of meanings than the Catholic one. For the Mexicatls, the cross represented the abovementioned four points. It also represented north, south, east, and west; up, down, left, and right; and the new moon, the crescent moon, the quarterly moon, and the full moon. When Hernán Cortés appeared with his beliefs, it was hard for our indigenous people to understand why and how their own cross was different and so much simpler. They accepted it in the end, but in their hearts, Mexicatls remained loyal for centuries to the traditions and knowledge of their elders, their ancestors—to the beliefs they had held since birth.

As time went by, evolution, modernization, and simple practicality made the Nahuatl language nearly disappear, along with its associated ancient traditions. By interpreting these dances, the Aztlán-Azteca troupe shares a bit of what it was like for the Mexicatls to honor their gods—how they prayed and how they simply said thank you. The troupe tries to honor those people who were forced to change their beliefs, who were silenced by force after having built magnificent religious monuments. After all the pain, sweat, and tremendous effort it took to build those monuments, it seems only fair to remember the people who once were the most powerful of their times.

I feel very happy to be able to interpret and share dances already lost.

Ana Verónica Ramírez was born here in San Miguel de Allende. She has been dancing for at least 12 years. With her sister Erika, and sometimes solo, she has performed in different places publicly and privately, including the Glen Abbey Golf Course in Canada and, more recently, in San Miguel’s Bellas Artes theater.

Dance Aztec

Aztlán-Azteca

Thu, Mar 28, 6pm

Teatro Santa Ana

200 pesos

All ticket proceeds donated to the Biblioteca

 

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