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Latin America: Mexico

Veracruz

Veracruz is the name of a state, a large city and a major port along Mexico's eastern shore. The state of Veracruz boasts a temperate climate, warm and humid along the coast and cool in the foothills and mountains. The city of Veracruz is a major port and a producer and exporter of cacao (an ingredient in chocolate), textiles and cigars. The people of Veracruz are known as jarochos.

Today, the city is known for its music, including marimba bands, danzonera and comparsa. An equally rich dance tradition parallels Veracruz's unique musical styles. The yearly Carnaval festival in Veracruz, a nine-day party in February or March illustrates the region’s strong cultural ties to the Caribbean.

Image courtesy of www.mexconnect.com

Veracruz Dance and Music

Performances in
World Arts West Programs
Son Jarocho
Performers
Cascada de Flores
Instruments Used
Cajón
Jarana

Jarocho is a term that refers to the people and culture of southern Veracruz, along Mexico's eastern coast.  Son jarocho describes one unqiue style of music and dance from that region, noted for its emphasis on improvisation and variations in rhythm. Noted son jarocho artist and scholar Timothy Harding writes that many of the dance styles in Veracruz have their origins in the 17th and 18th centuries, with the influence of dances like the Fandago that migrated from Spain. Spanish influences can also be noted in the music’s structure, verse forms, and stringed instruments. Also, because African slaves were used in plantation agriculture until the early 19th century, the region bears the influence of the music developed by both slaves and free blacks. Dr. Harding notes that much of the music of the region has African singing characteristics, such as call and response, slurring notes in intervals in the scale, and an "irreverent attitude" developed among a people who were on the margins of Indian and Spanish society. For more information, visit www.conjuntojardin.com.

 



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