This piece recaptures the Danza de Los Quetzales in a new installation composed of video, objects, and live activations. The dance of the Quetzales is one of the few ceremonial dances that survived the evangelization crusade in the Mesoamerica and is still danced in the Nahua-Totonaca region located between the Mexican states of Puebla and Veracruz. Although nowadays it is sometimes performed for the public appreciation, the religious prohibition did not manage to deprive it of its ritual character. The dancers honor the sun and ask for divine favors such as good weather, abundant harvest, and health as it is a dance engaged in benefiting the agricultural labor. The score of the dance is composed of greetings to the four winds so that the farmers have protection from the elements coming from all directions.
For those reasons the dance is very solemn, organized in parallel and crossed lines of movements of zapateados (a sort of tap dance), twists and reverences. The reverence is the significant movement of the dance; it is when the dancers bow to each other and the elements, curving their bodies and their heads that carry the “penachos.”
The piece proposes a reinterpretation of the symbolic meaning of the movements of this dance, based on reverences of gratitude and plea, and draws a historical connection with the national representations during the World Fairs of the last century.The-Armory-Show-2019-_Vermelho-_Penachos_-byTania-Candiani