Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Chicken Dance, Part 1

I've said it before: you have to be strong to party with Mexicans. They have the fiesta thing down, while we extranjeros feebly struggle to keep up. Fiestas seldom happen as one off events. No, they at least come in pairs and more often than not, series of parties over a week or two.

For example, we'd been invited to a small family get together on Friday at the home of our neighbor, Sr., Jesús O. and his wife, Praxedes. Only 15 or 18 guests, family and friends, gathered to celebrate Sr. O.'s Día del Santo.

It was a nice, quiet, family affair, with home made mole de pollo y arroz, the ubiquitous 2.5 liter refrescos bottles, and some cookies and bread pudding that I'd made. Our tablemates and I conversed on Las Vegas, Nevada, its attractions and its downsides.

Ah! the first Cocteles Margaritas I'd ever seen served at a local party made an appearance. (It's those gringo influences, learned al Otro Lado, infitrating La Cultura Mexicana.) I will say, however, they were done in a distinctively local interpretation, served in vasos plásticos deshechables.

Later in this intimate gathering, our amiga, María de la Luz B. asked if we'd like to go to a dance the next day, in Tzintzuntzan. I didn't understand at first, thinking she wanted me to dance with her. If so, she was joking, as I have a well-deserved reputation for two left feet. Our landlady, Sra. "Chucha" B., seated next to me, further explained that there was to be a wedding at Tzintzuntzan on the morrow, and that we should attend. The big draw would be the performance of La Danza de Pollos.
Wow! The Chicken Dance???

I was, of course, intrigued. They sank the hooks deeper as they skillfully played the line, with mentions of The Cerveza Dance and the Dance of El Torito. The clincher was that these dances were unique to Tzintzuntzan (only a few miles away over the ridge or a bit longer by highway) and not available here, in Las Cuevas.

Who could resist?
"O.k.", I declared. "¡Estoy convencido!"

We made plans to pick them up for a ride
at 10:15 Saturday morning to the mass, scheduled for 11:00, and after to the festivities. (No one really believed that we'd really leave at such a ridiculously precise time, but we all went along with the concept.)

At 10:20 Saturday morning, Sra. Chucha was ready. María and son were not to be found. We rode down the street to the highway, turned towards María's house, and found her by el vado, walking towards us, with Sra. Amparo and her daughter, Socorro. After turning around, we stopped in front of the house of Sra. Lupe, one of Sra. Chucha's many sisters, and offered her a ride. The van was able to comfortably carry all as we'd put in the rear bench seat earlier in the week.

By 10:35, we were off towards Tzintzuntan's venerable churches, set in a lovely area of
ancient olive trees.

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