The Aztec Dance, “Danza Azteca” in Spanish or “Mi’totiliztli” in Nahuatl, is one of the most basic manifestations of the artistic and cultural spirit of the native people of Mexico. It is a mixture of thousands of years of history of both the agrarian and militaristic ethnic groups of the area, and the integration of Pre-Columbian and Christian rituals as evolved over the centuries.
The Dance represents the eternal search of man for cosmic harmony and integration, both of his body and his spirit. All the chants of Aztec Dance ritual refer to this essential process.The Aztec Dance has been referred to as a form of prayer and a total way of life and communication. Each routine reflects the duality of the Aztec culture. With women, the night, the jaguar and the earth on one side. With men, the day, the eagle and water on the other.
However, entertainment is not the principal objective; rather, honoring the Gods and forming a link with the cosmos is the overall goal of the Aztec/Concheros’ dance. For that reason, the four cardinal points are blessed before the start of the routine and steps are dedicated to the harvest, fertility, earth, fire and water.
There are also several instruments incorporated into the performance, such as the concha de armadillo (armadillo conch) guitar from which they take their name, the huehuétl and teponaztle drums, as well as ayoyote and ayacachtli maracas/percussion instruments. The dancers unite to create a corporal expression in order to connect with mother nature and with our ancestors.
The dancing circle is formed by a coordinator, captain, medicine woman, drummer, and dancers.
All members obtaining a leading role (coordinator, medicine woman, and captain) of the circle arrive early to prepare a sacred space to practice.
Members are required to participate in workout or traditional clothing.
When a participant is ready to enter the circle, the captain places them in a strategic place in the circle balancing the energy that this will create. Dancing in a circle creates unity within the group. Our ancestors believed that it promoted the flow of good energy.
The medicine woman forms an offering table with objects symbolizing the elements. Such as, water, candles, flowers, copal, and sage.
She then opens up the circle by asking the elements and our ancestors for permission to practice, while the rest of the participants offer songs. This is done when opening and closing the circle.We then move to practice and teachings of the traditional dances. This is guided by the coordinator and / or captain of the circle.