Has there ever been a better time for a rain dance? Most certainly not, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the first five months of 2011 have been the driest start of any year in New Mexico on record.
Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flying Men) is a fertility ceremony at El Rancho de las Golondrinas’ Viva México event that will hopefully change this situation.
Dancers from the town of Papantla in Veracruz, Mexico, will climb a 60-foot pole and throw themselves off the top with ropes tied to their feet. Four men will twirl toward the ground headfirst while the fifth dances and plays music at the top.
Associated with the Totonac people in modern times, the ritual was purportedly created to beg the gods to end a severe drought. The measure was successful, and the rain god Xipe Totec let the water fall, renewing the fertility of the land.
The object of Viva Mexico, which is sponsored by the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque, is to “let New Mexicans know what Mexico has to offer,” Mexican consul Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de León says.
In addition to the popular Danza de los Voladores, the event includes performances by the Guelaguetza dancers from Oaxaca, a Mexican market with over 40 artists from south of the border and a Mariachi clown group.
Viva Mexico is the second most popular event in Santa Fe County, trailing only Las Golondrinas’ Santa Fe Renaissance Fair. 5,155 people attended the event in 2010.
Although the pole Los Voladores traditionally use to leap from is a whopping 250 feet tall and the one at Las Golondrinas is only 60 feet, the spectacle shouldn’t be lacking in adrenalin.
Ponce de León hopes that the event will “strengthen the bonds between Mexico and New Mexico.”
In 2009, the ceremony was named an Intangible Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to ensure that the ritual does not disappear in modern times.
Droughts, after all, only seem to be getting more severe and we can’t afford to lose touch with the rain gods.
10 am-5 pm
Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17
El Rancho de las Golondrinas
334 Los Pinos Road