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Juan Esparza Rebecca Plevin Daniel Cásarez Olivia Ruiz Irene Rodriguez Cynthia Moreno Community Health Fellowship

La Danzaavatar

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La Danza, a great tradition that takes place in my dad’s birthplace, La Ceja, Zacatecas, Mexico has been celebrated in Earlimart,  California for many years now thanks to my unlce and many people who have helped him organize it. I was very proud to be able to share this with the readers of Vida en el Valle this week.

La Danza has been celebrated for more than 100 years and it is dedicated to the Holy Cross in its place of origin. People dance in a way that resembles an indigenous ritual making two rows and led by three captains. The men are dressed in white, long sleeve shirts , carriceras, red calzoncillos, red socks and huaraches. Women are dressed in white blouses, red skirts with carriceras, white socks, and huaraches and often with a ribbon on their forehead.  They all use sonajas, rattles, as they dance. Carriceras are made from bamboo sticks tied together with string and sewed to the skirts. They are often times decorated with beads.

Sones are played throughout the whole night with violins and the dancers, the danzantes, continue to dance until dawn. There are many sones, “Son de la Santa Cruz,” ” La Flecha,” “Los Corrales,” and my favorite, “Los Paños,” among others. In ‘Los Paños’ the people from one row use handkerchiefs to make a bridge with a person from the other row and dance going under and over the other couple…a little hard to explain, but that’s my favorite son.

The morenos are a big part of the celebration. The morenos are men dressed up in costumes, completly covered, dancing around being silly and often times, scaring children during the night. The morenos represent the dark side, the devil and they are trying to deviate the focus from the celebration towards them.  They can get very creative with their costumes and acts, but it’s a tough job since they are covered from their face and it gets hard to breathe, add to that, the fact that La Danza is held in a patio with no grass or concrete, it’s all dirt because it makes it easier to dance there.

An altar is built and usually two decorated crosses are placed there for the danzantes to dance in front of. People gather by the altar to pray the rosary in the middle of the night.

My uncle Manuel has been living in Earlimart for a very long time, more than 35 years, and because so many people from La Ceja couldn’t go to La Danza, and it is a celebration that is so dear to their heart, he decided to organize it here in the United States. People from differents parts of California visit Earlimart to go to La Danza, of course, the great majority are people who are from La Ceja and the nearby towns.

My tio Manuel no longer dances because of his rheumatism and age, but his children and grandchildren have continued the tradition. Many of my other uncles and cousins participate in this celebration too, and the one I am most proud of, Andy, my 4-year-old brother.  My father used to dance when he lived in Mexico, he is very devoted to the Holy Cross and as much as he insisted, my sister or I never danced at La Danza. My little brother on the other hand, has been dancing for half his life, ok, so that’s only two years, but seeing him makes me so proud!  He runs when he sees the morenos, but as long as they are away, he goes to the end of the line (since he’s the shortest dancer) and jumps around giving his best effort to follow everyone else.


La nota en español y de lo que se trata La Danza esta en este lazo:

Me senti muy orgullosa de poder compartir esta celebracion con los lectores de Vida en el Valle ya que esta es una tradicion que proviene desde la pequeña comunidad de donde es mi padre y es organizada por mi familia, ademas de que es una celebracion con mucho significado para mi familia y han podido traerla a este pais.

Mi papa es muy creyente de la Santa Cruz y cuando vivia en Mexico danzo muchos años, pero por mas que insistio, ni mi hermana ni yo bailamos alguna vez, pero mi hermanito de 4 años, Andy, esta fascinado con La Danza y ha bailado durante los ultimos dos años. En realidad, solo se va al final de la fila (ya que es el danzante mas chiquito) y brincotea tratando de seguir a los otros danzantes.

Espero que con mi nota haya podido capturar aunque sea una minima parte de lo que es La Danza y lo que significa para mi familia y para mi.

Written by Irene Rodriguez

May 6th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

7 Responses to 'La Danza'

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  1. Awesome possum…O mas bien, excelente nota senorita periodista. I am so glad you did this story, its quite lovely.



    6 May 09 at 4:09 pm

  2. wOW.. LA DANZA


    Sammy Duarte

    6 May 09 at 7:59 pm

  3. I am so glad I got to experience



    7 May 09 at 6:51 am

  4. Hola, yo solo tengo una inquitud, como se llama tu papa? Yo naci en La Ceja, y no solo he precenciado la danza, si no que, he sido Moreno y Danzante. Pero, haora vivo en el hestado de Oregon , y lla he vivido mas de la mitad de mi vida en USA. Nadamas se me hace curiosidad saber el fruto que ha dado La Ceja. Una de las cosas relacionadas con la frace ” fruto” que menciono, es cuando la tierra estaba mojada y el el arado abria su trecho para que la semilla callera y haci dar cosecha: el Maiz. Entonces, tu heres un fruto. Algien que llega ha entrevistar a los Tigeres Del Norte verdaderamente es motivo de sentirse orgulloso y poderle llamar un fruto. Bueno, Anyways, My grandmother was Rodrigues, so we could even be related.


    Ray Torres

    14 May 09 at 1:01 am

  5. My familia is from Villanueva, Jalpa and Jerez, Zacatecas. Saludos!

  6. I think we are related. My mom is Nemoria Mariscal. I had always heard about this danza and i finally was able to see it last year with my mom. It is a really great tradition.


    Darlene Aguilar

    9 Mar 10 at 12:10 pm

  7. I’M impressed with your ability to accurately describe this mexican tradition that is strongly rooted in Valparaiso. Your usage of properly selected words is amazing! Even though I’M not catholic, I know this type of dance/art of my home land. Good job!!!

    Someone from La Alameda.


    Manuel Montellano

    17 Aug 10 at 12:52 am

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