A Dance For The Ages

I don’t dance. I can’t dance. I’m not really entirely sure that I understand dancing, by and large. Sure, Shakira can bust some moves, but I’m not sure that she’s really dancing. She’s teasing, the old flirt that she is. Besides, she’s not British, and that is an important point. I do know that we Brits can’t dance. There are many things we are good at, but dancing isn’t one of them. How can I really ram this point home? Well, allow me to introduce you to the world of Morris dancing.  Or Victorian Ball Room dancing. Two atrocious forms of human movement that hardy groups of people try very hard to keep going into the 21st century.

There are just some things that we should let go. These should have been abolished at the same time as death by hanging, blood letting by leeches, punitive castration and other forms of unnecessary and painful activity. And then there is this, the most modern example of Brits being unable to dance. Which makes me wonder if we abolished hanging and castration too soon. Perhaps blood letting could be brought back too? By axe, rather than leeches. Where’s James Holmes when you need him? Lastly, I produce as evidence to finish the debate off, Peter Crouch. The Colombians can do this. And we get Peter Crouch. Enough said. I rest my case.

So, in a nut shell, I don’t agree with dancing. In much the same way many other people don’t agree with President Obama, or Israeli settlements. I have no idea what it’s all about but I just don’t like it. But, as with every issue of global importance, there are occasional meetings of the mind. Seeing eye to eye. An understanding. With dance, I have found some common ground.

The Mexican Folklore Ballet. Or more properly know as the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, de Amalia Hernandez. They have just performed a run of five days at the London Coliseum, which Mrs P and I were lucky enough to be able to go and see. It was their first trip to the UK for more than twenty years, although we have both seen the performance before, at their home in the Palacio de Belles Artes in Mexico City. It’s a story as much of a dance. The story of Mexico through the ages, from the Aztecs, through Revolutionaries and Conquistadors, all accompanied with a fabulous mariachi band.

And as far as dancing goes, this is much more Riverdance than Swan Lake. It’s a two hour riot of colour, cacophony of noise and whir of movement that seems to pass in half the time. You become quite involved in the epic telling of Mexico’s history, quite literally if you’re one of the lucky souls who gets a dance with one of the pretty ladies when they take their act to the theatre aisles.

Photography was forbidden in the theatre. Although towards the end, a fair few people starting getting a few shots for posterity with their phones. I joined in and have a set of fairly poor quality snaps on Flickr. Which you can see if you click here. But for a taste of this particularly exquisite flavour of Mexico, it would be best if I left you with something a little better. A promotional video.

This post was not sponsored by Fox News. Although, having included capital punishment, terrorism, torture, sexism, anti Obama rant and the middle east in a single post about dancing, I expect an interview soon. Crap, I forgot immigration….


11 thoughts on “A Dance For The Ages

  1. I love the Ballet Folklórico!!! Thanks for sharing the video, and your photographs are great too.

    Decades ago, they toured the U.S. regularly, and always gave a performance here in Cleveland. However, in those days I was put off by the word “ballet”, and turned down a couple chances to attend. Finally, in my first year of college the Spanish department organized a trip to see the Ballet Folklórico. Since we were required to attend a certain number of cultural events each year, I went along. We had front row seats at Cleveland’s Music Hall. I was absolutely mesmerized. The chairperson of the Spanish department sat next to me, and years later she told me that she would never forget the expression on my face. I can honestly say that the performance was the beginning of my fascination with Mexico, and that year I switched my major from history to Spanish.

    I’m glad that you and your wife had the opportunity to attend a performance in London. It’s been a few years since I have seen them at Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Maybe it’s time to see them again on my next trip to D.F in November.



    • The word ‘ballet’ is off putting to me too. Fortunately, for you and I at least, this isn’t what most people would call ballet. I’d go and see them again at Bellas Artes if I get the opportunity. Not least because the last time I went there was before it was closed and refurbished. It was interesting to hear you story too!


  2. We keep finding these cultural divides. I am fond of dancing — as a participant. But I have overdosed on Mexican folk dancing. I stopped in to see the Ballet Folklórico de México two or three years ago in the hope that seeing folk dances performed by the premier Mexican folkloric company would breath some life into what had become, for me, a dreary art form. The company’s execution was superb, but it was just more of the same. The whole experience reminded me of the last days of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. There were two exceptions — a brilliant modern dance piece and an evocative deer dance piece. But I may give it another try on my next trip to the highlands. By the way, “much more Riverdance than Swan Lake” perfectly sums up my impression of the experience.


    • I’ve had pyramid fatigue, church fatigue and waterfall fatigue in Mexico at one point or another. Folk fatigue seems a likely outcome of seeing one too many dances. You can have too much of a good thing.


  3. So were the London crowds wowed? Were the tickets mostly sold out? I hope y’all had a good time.

    New template, eh?


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we occasionally think of browsing for a new template, though still like the current one very much.


    • We went to a 2pm matinee. So it was not sold out. Much to my benefit. I swapped my very cheap £15 seat at the back of the top balcony for a very expensive front seat in the lower balcony. But there was still a healthy crowd there, who clearly loved it.

      The template. I’m undecided. What do you think? This one or the old one? Maybe I should just spruce up the old one.


      • Hola Gary! Well, if you’re undecided, then I’ll admit that I like the older template better. It better highlights your blogroll and the sidebar. While I like simple, there is such a thing as overly simple. Saludos!


      • Hola Gary! I like this template (The Chunk Theme) better than the last new one, but I liked the one before that even better, for what it’s worth. I like how the old one showed different photos through “The Mexile” lettering. IMHO the header on this and the last one were too black-and-white. Anyway, I’ll keep reading whatever you decide. Saludos!


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