Mesoamerican Culture, History, and Religion

Danza Azteca — Solo Dance Of Tezcatlipoca

I’ve had a long day today and am very tired, too much running back and forth across the state, so today’s update will be a quick one. There will be a big new article coming soon though, I had plenty of time while sitting on the train to plan out a nice big feature on Aztec ethics and moral worldview. Watch for those two in the near future. In the meantime, I have another nice danza video for you to enjoy, courtesy of a YouTuber by the handle of Alexeix.

This particular video is a solo performance by a young danzante named Miguel Rivera. He’s performing the dance of Tezcatlipoca, the mercurial “Smoking Mirror.”

This particular video is interesting not because of elaborate costuming or intricate instrumentation, but because Señor Rivera is demonstrating the full sequence of dance steps and movements in great detail, and you can clearly hear the specific drum rhythm for Tezcatlipoca being played in the background. Thus, for those of you who are interested in learning some of the traditional dances and/or drum rhythms, his video should be a useful source of information.

Incidentally, if you listen, you’ll hear a rhythmic jingling sound that’s in time to his movements. It’s coming from the “bells” around his ankles. Those “bells” are actually a specific type of seed pod/nut shell that is native to Mexico. When dried out and sewn to leather or cloth wraps that are worn around the lower legs, they make that beautifully distinctive jingling sound. I’d tell you what they’re called, but I’m completely blanking on it at the moment. I’ll update this post with it when I remember. (UPDATE: they’re called ayoyotes.)  Anyway, you’ll hear that sound in practically every Aztec dance recording out there, and now you know what makes it.

There shouldn’t be an issue with this embedded video going dead like the Quetzalcoatl one did for a little while, since it doesn’t look like the person who uploaded it on YouTube is opposed to embedding. (You can visit their YouTube page for this video by clicking HERE.) If it does cut out, just post a comment and let me know so I can fix it.

10 responses

  1. Shock

    The “bells”, they be called ayoyotes. They’re expensive, but you can find them on ebay if one is so inclined.

    They’re toxic if you eat them, you know?

    No, I’m not trying to be a smartass. So forgive me if I’m sounding like one. 🙂

    April 25, 2008 at 10:28 PM

  2. Xuchilpaba

    Geez I only wish I could dance like that!

    Anyway, IDK how to learn it by sololy watching it. A friend of mine who is Native American has seen Aztec danza groups in my area, but IDK where to find them! If I could, from what she says, I’d be able to obtain traditional items like obsidian knives.

    April 26, 2008 at 2:43 PM

    • Rosario

      I’m sorry, I know your comment is over a yr old. Did you mean you do not know where to find Aztec Dancers or were you referring to the ‘coyollies’? If you are looking for Aztec Danzantes, please contact me at:
      We are Aztec Danzantes: “Grupo Quetzalcoatl Xocoyotzin”

      October 18, 2009 at 3:02 AM

      • Rosario

        Hello again! We are located in Waukegan, Illinois. Available for any event! Check us out on facebook under our group name: Quetzalcoatl Xocoyotzin. Also sell native Aztec items shuch as costumes and shields…feather soon to come.
        Please e-mail us on our profile address or send us a message via facebook. Thanks for your time!

        May 21, 2010 at 12:42 AM

  3. OneFlower

    Your site rocks lady! Love the danza.

    May 14, 2008 at 1:06 AM

  4. Frank

    Great performance. Would’ve like to have seen it done in full Aztec regalia, though.

    June 30, 2008 at 4:35 PM

  5. cehualli

    Hi Frank,

    Me too! I’ve been watching for this dancer to post some videos of himself doing a more formal performance, but he hasn’t yet. Still, he has several other solo performances that are worth checking out, I’ll link more of them over time.

    September 15, 2008 at 7:33 AM

  6. cehualli

    Ayoyotes you say? I knew it began with an A…. Thanks Shock! And I think I’ll avoid checking their tastiness…

    September 15, 2008 at 7:34 AM

  7. angela

    megustaria q mi hijo de 7 anos estuviera en la dansa q es lo q puedo aser.para poderlo llevar o un nuero de tel,,

    October 9, 2010 at 3:37 PM

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    February 3, 2011 at 7:09 AM

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