World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival
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Ballet Folklorico Netza





First Appearance in SF EDF: 2004

The Huichol are an important Indian group related to the Aztecs who live in the rugged and remote Sierra Madres in the state of Nayarit on the Pacific coast of Mexico. As their name means "healer, or prophet," the Huichol have a strong reverence to nature, place and the elements in the world around them. The most important symbols include, the deer, corn and peyote as they are core elements used in their daily life and ritual dance practices. Since crops can fail easily in the Huichol's mountainous homeland, they perform elaborate ceremonies to insure their crop's success.

Ballet Folklorico Netzahualcoyotl was founded in Marin County (San Rafael) in 1996. Director Netza Vidal, born in Nayarit, studied at the acclaimed Escuela de la Danza Mexicana and was a member of the Ballet Folklorico Mexcaltitan. The company performs at local fairs, festivals and community events.


Ballet Folklorico NetzaTITLE OF PIECE: FIESTA DEL ESQUITE (Huichol of toasted corn ceremony)
DANCERS: Gabriela Arellano, Pedro Bentacourt, Claudia Cardenas, Gina Dassow, Daniel DeAnda, Everardo Delgado, Yamelyth Farias, Yolanda Figuero, Aurora Garcia, Ivan Guerrero, Daniel Jimenez, Ernesto Moreno, Monique Orozco, Ana Peixotto, Alejandro Pulido, Olivia Ramirez, Daniela Sandoval, Estefani Sandoval, Vanessa Sandoval, Jorge Valencia, Amelia Vega, Netza Vidal, and Marco Vinicio.

Fiesta del Esquite is a representation of the toasted corn ceremony–considered one of the most sacred of the Huichol rituals. It gives thanks to the gods for an abundant harvest and honors the burning of the fields in preparation for a new cycle. In this staged representation of the Fiesta, a shaman is carrying the abuela (grandmother) of the village, for without her the ritual could not begin.

The Huichol costume replicas worn by Ballet Folklorico Netzahualcoyotl are adorned with tradition symbols and designs made from embroidery, applique and painting. Designs are inspired by nature such as eagles, deer, and snakes. The men's hats are decorated with thorns and eagle feathers. Their faces are painted with the ojo de dios (eye of god), which is symbolic of essential cardinal points. The Huichol recognize sacred places in the East in the Pacific Ocean, North in Durango, and South in Jalisco. The ojo de dios is also used as a ritual to welcome new members of the family.

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