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Guerrero

"Por los caminos del sur"

by José Luis Ovalle


en Español⇒


Named after one of the Mexican Independence heroes (Vicente Guerrero), and facing the Mexican South Pacific; this state is home of Acapulco, Mexico's favorite resort and the dividing point of its two main regions: Costa Grande bordering on the north by the state of Michoacan and Costa Chica, neighboring the state of Oaxaca.


Music and Dance

This demarcation is also represented in its music and dance styles. Costa Grande is home to "Tierra Caliente" (The Hot Lands) where the sound of Mexican music (Son) is masterfully executed by world renowned musicians and the dancing is a variation of the common son, found in most of Central and southern Mexico.

The music is light and mainly played on violins or wind bands; given to masterful improvisation as well as the lyrics, known as "decimas" which are verses composed of ten lines. As in most Mexican sones, these verses are called "Coplas" or complete thoughts put into song that do not need to chain to the rest of the melody to make sense.

El Son Calentano

Dancing is fast, saturated with intricate foot stomping, partnered choreography and also given to improvisation. The son "Calentano" as the style is known is competitive in nature and is danced on a "Tarima" (Wooden platform).


La Chilena

In Mexican lingo, a "Chilena" can be a soccer term defining a very elaborate horizontal way of scoring a goal. But in Guerrero a Chilena is a dance form that came into the area in the 1800's during the California Gold Rush. History has it that miners from South America migrated north en route to California following the Pacific coast line.

Acapulco was one of the last resting points. As these hardy sojourners disembarked to get food and rest, they sang and danced their typical styles: the Peruvian "Marinera" and the Chilean "Cueca". Both styles include the use of a kerchief to indicate choreography. The locals adopted the style and gave it local characteristics.

Most Chilenas, especially from the Tixtla municipality have names that refer to animals particular to the local fauna: The Buzzard, the Duck, the Cat, and the Iguana. Mexican Chilenas are also saturated with African elements that have been incorporated as part of the tradition.


Danzas

There is a vast array of indigenous and "mestizo" dance forms that range from the "Tlacololeros" who wear gigantic hats decorated with multi colored flowers carry a rope in the form of a whip and wear burlap costumes; to the dance of the Diablitos or "Little devils" that demonstrate a strong African influence. As in most indigenous Mexico there is a vast number of rituals that are mostly danced by men and are danced following the Catholic festivities calendar.




© Copyright José Luis Ovalle, 2007 - 2017. All Rights Reserved. Derechos reservados.

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