Afro-Mexico: Dancing between Myth and Reality by Anita González

By Anita González

Whereas Africans and their descendants have lived in Mexico for hundreds of years, many Afro-Mexicans don't give some thought to themselves to be both black or African. for nearly a century, Mexico has promoted an amazing of its voters as having a mix of indigenous and eu ancestry. This obscures the presence of African, Asian, and different populations that experience contributed to the expansion of the state. notwithstanding, functionality studies—of dance, tune, and theatrical events—reveal the impact of African humans and their cultural productions on Mexican society.

In this paintings, Anita González articulates African ethnicity and artistry in the broader landscape of Mexican tradition through that includes dance occasions which are played both by way of Afro-Mexicans or by way of different ethnic Mexican teams approximately Afro-Mexicans. She illustrates how dance displays upon social histories and relationships and files how citizens of a few sectors of Mexico build their histories via functionality. competition dances and, occasionally, expert staged dances element to a continual negotiation between local American, Spanish, African, and different ethnic identities in the evolving country of Mexico. those performances embrace the cellular histories of ethnic encounters simply because each one dance features a spectrum of characters dependent upon neighborhood occasions and historic stories.

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Extra info for Afro-Mexico: Dancing between Myth and Reality

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Photo by José Manuel Pellicer. fr a m in g a fr ic a n per f or m a n c e in m e x ico | 33 | and practices. Although east coast Afro-Mexican communities have produced unique cultural innovations such as Jarocho or the Veracruz Danzón, these practices are assumed to be extensions of Cuban art forms. This is because Cuba has always maintained and promoted its African cultural traditions. The notion of locating black identity in Cuba has persisted in Mexico since the arrival of the Spaniards and Moors in the fifteenth century.

For example, the Totonac of Papantla live in an area where there were once sugarcane plantations. Their large numbers on these plantations made it possible for black slaves to maintain their traditional healing practices. Consequently, Totonacs who observed the blacks considered them healers who had special cures for snakebites and other ailments. The | 32 | a fro -me x ico Totonacs perform a Negritos dance in which they imitate a black woman curing her child of snakebite. In contrast, in other areas of Mexico like the Costa Chica, Afro-Mexicans have a history of fishing and seafaring.

By dancing more urban styles, students are able to articulate a modern and cosmopolitan identity. They can express this identity side by side with expressions of regional solidarity. Consequently, artists who want to dance can draw from multiple aesthetic styles to express their talents. Folkloric dance is popular and well supported in Mexico, and the inclusion of a local dance in the canon of national folklore is a signal of its assimilation and acceptance. Provinces regularly fund regional dance companies and local dance classes through the Casa de la Cultura system in each major town or village.

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