The other day I was invited to go see a lovely young woman I know perform in a presentation of dances from around this state. Quite honestly, my attention span for folk dance is not terribly long, but the liveliness and skill of the various dances quite captured me.
This group was being announced when I arrived. I believe they're from the central valleys of Oaxaca. I had to work my way around the back of the audience to get to the other side of the stage in order to have a hope of getting pictures that weren't all spotlight glare ~
All of the dances I saw were fairly lengthy and often got livelier and wilder as they went on ~
In this segment the girl in blue started out by pouring herself a shot of mezcal, after which she proceeded to get her partner drunk. He did a great job of dance-stumbling and falling around the stage ~
The next two dancers entered from the audience, moving in the slow measured way a wedding party comes down the aisle. The music was also initially solemn, an instrumental version of the greatly loved Canción Mixteca. The various dancers waiting in the wings softly sang along, as did I and eventually the whole audience. I only have two still pictures of this couple, but I urge you to watch their video (Danza Mixteca in the OP playlist) and marvel at their lively talent.
Next up were the Tehuanas. You can see this group in action in the playlist in the OP. Be warned that I have a bunch of pictures of this group because it's the one in which my young friend was dancing. I'm putting them all in this report so they'll be here for her mother to see.
The first two pictures were as the group was convening on the stairs preparatory to going on stage. The women have small clay figurines, which they're practicing putting on their heads ~
They set the clay images on their heads ~
And then they dance with the dollies balanced on top!
And just because today is Christmas, I'll include these pictures I got this evening on the way home, as I passed Sto. Domingo church.
I was not surprised to see the early warning signs of a parade forming ~
Proceeding further, I come upon some flor de piña ladies loosely in formation. The huipiles are dazzling, as always ~
And I recognize some of this bunch! The girl in the right foreground was in the Tehuana troupe. She was the little stone-faced one, but it turns out she can smile. And my young friend who was also in the Tehuana group is the one fixing her costume in front of the lady with the flowered blouse ~
No idea what this group is supposed to represent. The man is in Huichol garb, but definitely not a Huichol. The woman in chartreuse is very tall and the one in blue may have escaped from a Velázquez royal portrait ~
I snapped the picture above on the fly, but they caught me & snapped to with a pose. There's a lot going on in this picture!
As far as flattering, I imagine the straight styles, which in their essence go back to pre-colonial times, are more meant to show off the weaving & embroidery. The huipil's design announces its region. Also, our concept of flattering for a woman being that which shows off the hourglass figure, is not universal.
Amazingly, the traditional clothing is almost always colorfast. The Teotitlan rugs, which can be either naturally or artificially dyed, can be put into the washer and dryer. This is less surprising when you consider that threads must be boiled in the dying process.
Breeze, I'm sure you must have already seen this thread: anyportinastorm.proboards.com/thread/6079/weaving-tradition-present, which shows some things colored with natural dyes -- cochineal, indigo and other plants, & the famous snail purple. But items such as those died with the natural purple are much more expensive, so undoubtedly the majority of traditional clothing uses commercial dyes. My advice for embroidered garments is to wash them in lots of water. Doing that delicate thing in the bathroom sink doesn't allow any bleeding to disperse into the water as easily, so more likely to stain other parts of the clothing. I throw everything I own into the washing machine, so can attest to the colorfastness. Maybe the heavily embroidered velvet Tehuana clothing gets sent to the dry cleaners, but those clothes have been around way longer than icky dry cleaning.
I am just fascinated by your abilities in capturing the pinnacle point of a woman twirling her skirt as she dances, adding to that the expressions and postures as you did in photo 3 in reply #2. Impressive.
Thank you, Cheery! Do you mean to say you are not going to make a doll(s) for each of the eight regions of Oaxaca and all the regional dress permutations therein?!
Ah, you are so generous, Mich! In all honesty, the camera does a good bit of the work in that kind of capture, plus I managed to get up to the stage and kneel down so that I was at eye level with the floor for those shots. Your kind feedback is much appreciated!