Ballet Folklórico Anáhuac
DANCE ORIGIN: Mexico
GENERAL DIRECTOR: Liduvina González
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER: Cristóbal González-Villano
PROP MANAGER: Eric Díaz
First Appearance in SF EDF: 2011
Cristóbal González-Villano created the piece in 2010, based on years of practice and research. Ballet Folklórico Anáhuac was formed in 2006 by General Director Liduvina González and co-founder Cristóbal Gonzalez, her son, with a dream to inspire children and youth to keep alive the wonderful heritage of Mexican arts and culture; and through dancing and theatrical forms, to enrich their lives now and in the future.
TITLE: La Pelea de Anáhuac
DANCERS: Rosalinda Andrade, Araceli Bergara, Alexa Cadenaz, Kassandra Casillas, Paola Yasmin Castro, Roberto Coria, Eric Díaz, Daisy Garcia, Mariana Gomez, Josandra González, Juan Carlos González, Liduvina González, Cristóbal González-Villano, Javier Jacquez, Anahi López, Samantha López, Alicia Navarro, Sarayah Perez, Danny Salgado, Diana Sandoval, Diego Sandoval, Bianca Siordia, Jhocelynne Sotelo, Vanessa Tapia, Emily Valenzuela, Joanna Valenzuela, Patricia Coria Villaseñor
Mark Cadenaz (drums), Juan Ceja (drums), Edgar Enciso (drums), Cristóbal González-Villano (conch shell), Julio Cezar González (conch shell), Miguel Larios (drums)
The name of this powerful military performance is La Pelea de Anáhuac, The Fight of Anáhuac. Anáhuac is the Pre-Columbian (Aztec) name of the Valley of Mexico. The dance portrays a battle between two small Aztec tribes, bringing to life dramatic war-time emotions, and demonstrates the fear tactics Aztecs used for military dominance. The choreography is filled with symbolism and steps that imitate nature. As two families of warriors enter, they perform a dance that symbolizes water. Dancers then imitate a snake with their sonajas raised high above their heads; they then represent the air with a great turning inwards and swishing of feathered heads; and then they dance like running deer. Finally, two warriors stage a confrontation, and a closing dance symbolizes eagles.
The Aztec were a migrating Nahuatl-speaking tribe who conquered the Valley of Mexico to build one of Americas’ great indigenous civilizations. Contemporary Aztec staging, choreography, and costumes are reconstructed from archeological evidence: carvings and murals, bark paper codices, and sixteenth century eyewitness accounts of Aztec life and culture by Spanish conquistadors and monks.
The costumes represent the clothing of the Aztec wealthy class, with gold adornments and images of animals, gods, and other symbols. The copili headdress of pheasant and rooster feathers particularly symbolizes power and wealth, as feathers were often imported from long distances and possibly were used as a form of money. One of the Aztec’s greatest weapons was fear. Animal skins and the sheer size of regalia transformed warriors into fearsome giants. Leg band shakers—here made of leather, hardened string, and seeds— created a constant sound. Warriors also used the sounds of fierce yelling, cocoli shell, and huehuetl drum to strike fear into men’s hearts. Of particular note is the Aztec macuahuitl, the obsidianedged club. This weapon was sometimes four feet long and its obsidian tip was said to be sharper than steel.
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