The Mexican state of Sinaloa is located on the Gulf of California across the waters from Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Sinaloa is blessed with white sand beaches and bountiful seafood, and is rumored to be the hiding place of centuries-old pirate’s treasure. Each year, Sinaloa hosts a spectacular celebration known as El Carnaval in the port city Mazatlan. With Caribbean and African influences, El Carnaval is Sinaloa’s version of Mardi Gras, and, like similar celebrations around the world, the festivities take place during the week before Christian lent. Hundreds of thousands of people—tourists, revelers and performers—flood the streets of Mazatlan for parades and dancing, and this gala event concludes with the coronation of the Carnaval Queen and her King. The Omeyocan Dance Company performs
a spectacular array of dances from this region that feature colorful and flashy El Carnaval-inspired costumes. These flamboyant dances show how Sinaloans have transformed celebration into an art form.
The state of Veracruz is strategically located along the Gulf of Mexico. Its main port city, also called Veracruz, is the historic gateway to Mexico, where European conquistadors and settlers entered the country. The people of Veracruz are known as Jarochos and their folk dances incorporate intricate and rapid foot work reminiscent of Caribbean dance. In this region, the women dancers often flourish their long dresses, mimicking the waves of their cherished ocean.
Located west of Mexico City, Jalisco is the state of stunningly gorgeous women, Mexican cowboys, mariachi bands, and the infamous Mexican Hat Dance. People from around the world most often associate the music, costumes and dance of Jalisco as the embodiment of all things Mexico. The impressive costumes of the this region feature bright colors, ruffles and ribbons for the women and dashing black suits adorned with silver for the men. Long, full skirts create visually dramatic moving patterns as the folk dances of Jalisco express flirtatiousness and energy.
Michoacan is located just west of Mexico City in central Mexico and is the place where our continent’s Monarch butterflies migrate to every fall taking refuge from the harsh winters of Canada and the United States. This cycle of nature is unique to Michoacan and enhances the unique identity of the region. The people of Michoacan are known as Porepechas or Tarascos, and they perform a variety of lively dances at their celebrations and festivals. One of the most popular dances from Michoacan is known as “The Old Man Dance”. It features mischievous elderly men who often encourage the audience to get involved in the fun.
Sonora Bronco is a style of Mexican folk dance that originated in the mountainous region of the Mexican state Sonora, a place where cowboys drive cattle as a way of life. Sonora Bronco dances have similarities to the folk dances of neighboring states that are also involved in the cattle industry, including Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, and Durango. The dances feature many jumps, kicks, and quick turns, movements that mimic a cowboy’s handling of cattle, horses
and other livestock. The costumes of the male dancers are similar to what real Sonoran cowboys wear on the trail, including cowboy hats and pointed boots. During these dances, male dancers tend to show off, doing their best to impress and draw the attention of their female counterparts.
The Omeyocan Dance Company performs select folk dances from the Tierra Caliente region of Guerrero, the Mexican state located on the Pacific Ocean between the states of Michoacan and Oaxaca. The music of the Tierra Caliente (“Very Hot Land”) region is characterized by fast tempos and the sounds of violin, guitar, foot stomping and a special drum known as the tamborina, which uses two different kinds of animal hide to achieve a variety of sounds. To keep time with the music, the dancers must move their feet quickly. One demanding step involves dancers shifting from the balls of their feet to their heels almost simultaneously, with precision and swiftness. The costumes of this region feature rebosos, or large scarves, draped over the shoulders of all the dancers, with men in white and women in a variety of vividly colored dresses.
The dances performed by the Omeyocan Dance Company show idealized characteristics of various animals found in the region – La Gallina (“The Chicken”) and El Burro (“The Donkey”).
Nuevo Leon is located in northeastern Mexico, near Texas and is one of the most industrialized states of Mexico. Because many Bohemian Europeans settled in this area, Nuevo Leon is a place where European and indigenous cultures have fused. This fact is reflected in the state’s traditions, including music and dance. Stylistically, dances from Nuevo Leon have a decidedly Bohemian flavor, and one can often hear the lilting sound of an accordion accompanying various dances, including the Polka, Redova, and Chotis.
Mexico is a nation -comprised of more than 30 states- that can be divided up into regions based on unique folk dance styles, music and costumes. Mexican folk dances are visually dramatic and engaging, and they very often tell a story about what it was like to live in Mexico at a given time in the past.
With energy, authentic costumes and versatility, the Omeyocan Dance Company performs a variety of Mexican folk dances from the states of Baja California, Chiapas, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Veracruz.