Kicking Up Dust

If the act of dancing was still considered to be as powerful today as it was when humans first pounded the soil in rhythmic unison, vying for the god's favor, then surely the energy emitted from just one night on the Sutra sardine-can dance floor would be enough to cure cancer, stop global warming (70 degrees in January?!) and make it possible to travel back in time just by touching your throbbing pulse then immediately raising the roof.

Although the purpose of dancing has changed considerably (are our modern moves meant to increase fertility? What exactly are we trying to do when I dip, you dip, we dip?), the beauty and emotive quality of traditional dance has not. Aztec dance, created as a way to offer reverence to the supernatural gods of the sky, earth, sun and water, utilizes gorgeous costumes (feathered headdresses that reach the stars; bright, vivid geometric garments that compliment that dancer's movements) and drumbeats that shake the earth just as well as any warehouse rave. Today the dances are seen more as a way for modern "Mexicas" to revitalize their culture and reconnect to their strong and colorful roots than a ritual performed to placate or beseech the gods. El Centro Cultural de Mexico is offering free Aztec dance classes to individuals who want to re-awaken those dancing feet held captive in sweaty pumps and clunky loafers most hours of the working week. Self-sacrifice is optional.

Aztec Dance at El Centro Cultural de Mexico, 310 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana; Every Thurs., 7 p.m. Free.


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