Some cultural traditions date back to pre-Columbian times. Some have been expanded and given new meanings through a cultural blending of past and present. One such tradition is being revived at Harris Center, 10 College Parkway in Folsom, as Danza Floricanto presents “Fiesta del Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)” on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 3 p.m.
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In California, where so many cultures come together to negotiate everyday life, the blending of music and traditions of the Day of the Dead is not only unstoppable, but also incredibly vital to this remaking of tradition as the old and the new come together to celebrate.
Floricanto Dance Theatre’s “Fiesta del Día de Los Muertos” takes its inspiration from the very traditional Day of the Dead activities in Mexico-altar offerings of favorite foods and flowers honoring the dead, processions to the grave sites, songs, candles, sugar skulls, skeleton dioramas and paper cuttings — and gives it a contemporary flavor, designed to entertain and delight the whole family.
Choreographed by Gema Sandoval, this program is a series of dance theater vignettes orchestrated by “La Catrina,” the skeleton like figure created by turn of the century Mexican graphic artist, José Guadalupe Posada. These snapshots of life — a mother who lost her child, star-crossed lovers, a bull fighter, field hands, among others — become an affirmation of life through dance.
Floricanto’s program combines traditional folklore with contemporary themes and humor in order to appeal to the whole family. Additionally, in the lobby of the theater, a community altar will be set up. Here audience members are invited to include the name of their departed loved ones as they come in to watch the performance and in this way become part of the event.
Mexican lore says that “we experience death three times, one, when we leave our body; two, when our spirit leaves us; three, when we are forgotten by our loved ones.”
Danza Floricanto/USA was founded in 1975 by Sandoval. From an Aztec ritual to the vibrant fiestas of today’s Jalisco, from the Spanish-influenced tropics of Veracruz to the conflictive realities of the Chicano experience, Danza Floricanto/USA presents the bold, colorful panorama of its Mexican heritage as it interacts with its American reality.
This award-winning 39-year-old company has been enthusiastically received on tour throughout California and the American Southwest. Danza Floricanto/USA, has recreated the movement, costume, and song of 17 different regions of Mexico, and over half a dozen works on the Chicano experience which celebrate cultural identity for the Mexican American community and the immigrant experience for the rest of America.