Folkloric Dance as an Ever-Changing Tradition

I am amazed at how many Mexican folkloric dances were cataloged and recorded by teachers of the Secretaria de Educacion Publica by 1934. In his writings, Carlos Merida, Director of Mexico’s School of Dance during the early 1930s, listed so many dances that are now well beloved. For example, a few of the dances that he listed included the danza de los viejitos, danza de los negritos, sones huastecos, sones costenos, jarabe tapatio, etc. Then, in the 1970s there was another government led movement by Mexican President Luis Echevarria (1970-1976) to collect and document the folkloric dances of Mexico. Many of these dances are performed in the repertoire of folkloric dance groups today. Of course, we also have the many dances that were specifically created for the stage such as the dances of Sinaloa, Nayarit Costa, Flor de Piňa from Oaxaca and the list continues. I argue that all of these dances have evolved and changed with time. No matter how hard we try to “preserve” dances so that they remain the same, dance and music traditions do not stay static but are fluid. As folkloristas we are involved in this movement to continue dance traditions that have been passed on from one generation to another.

These photos taken almost one hundred years apart attest to the ever-changing dynamic of the folkloric dance movement as it travels throughout the world.

Copyright, 1/28/2015, Mendoza-Garcia

Gabriela Mendoza-García Ph.D. is an Artist and Scholar. She has her own dance school and company called the Gabriela Mendoza-García Ballet Folklórico in Laredo, Texas.  Dr. Mendoza-Garcia founded this group in 2013 and teaches children and adults of all ages. Her company consists of seasoned folklórico dancers with years of experience performing this art form. She teaches traditional Mexican folklórico dance pieces, as well as, works that are inspired by her scholarly research. Her scholarship includes: editing the book Dancing throughout Mexican History (1325-1910), History & Folklore booklet with an accompanying documentary sponsored by the Webb County Heritage Foundation, The Jarabe Tapatío: Imagining Race, Nation, Class and Gender in 1920s Mexico published by Oxford University Press, an on-line blog, writings for Asociación Nacional de Grupos Folklóricos, and others.

One thought on “Folkloric Dance as an Ever-Changing Tradition

  1. Pedro Serna Alvallar

    sin duda alguna, los comentarios vertidos son de un gran peso, pues la reflexión de la evolución dancística es imprescindible, pues los grupos sociales y costumbres también evolucionan. los coreíografos actuales deben considerar que la historia , los usos y costumbres se adaptan a las nuevas espectativas de la evolución humana. Gracias Gaby Mendoza por compartir eres una gran promotora de las artes en la actualidad.

    Liked by 1 person

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