Vibrant Aztec traditions in Acadiana through dance

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana – The sounds and movements of ancient Mexican culture beat in Acadiana.

At Moore Park in Lafayette, you will often find hundreds of football players; but, on Tuesdays and Fridays, you will also find a few dozen Mexican women dancing to keep their culture alive. You will hear traditional Aztec instruments in the background.

“Our dance is above all the representation of a prayer through movement,” said Dominga Marquez, one of the members of Danza Azteca Lafayette.

It is a group aimed at bringing a small part of ancient Mexican culture to Acadiana.

Their vibrant costumes represent the four elements, water, earth, fire, air. Elements on which their ancestors based their lives.

“It’s a dance created in Mexican culture by our ancestors, and now we’ve made it more modern and incorporated the Catholic Church, which is one of the oldest congregations,” Marquez explained. “We dance in December, which is the month of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

They say it is an honor to worship Our Lady of Guadalupe through an Aztec dance.

The story goes that an Aztec man, Juan Diego, was visited by the Virgin Mary in the 1500s on the outskirts of present-day Mexico City. Our Lady of Guadalupe is now the patron saint of the Americas.

These are parts of the story the group hope to keep vibrant as their children grow older.

“And they also have this desire to learn, and very quickly they learned all the steps,” Marquez said.

The youngest members of the group, honored and proud to be part of Danza Azteca.

“I know some people don’t want to say where they’re from, they’re afraid of being bullied at school, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be. It should be the other way around, they are supposed to be proud of where they come from, ”said Erika Boroquez and Sandra Briceño.

New members and founders say they are happy that their traditions have not been erased.

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