Danzantes Unidos Festival DUF 2023 “BAILAR ES VIVIR” will take place on March 31, April 1 & 2 in Fresno, CA and honors the ongoing work of folklorico artists sharing culture and traditions across the United States and in Mexico. Registration is OPEN at www.danzantes.org . Early Registration ends Tuesday, December 27, 2022.
Maestra Blanca Araceli Soto is an accomplished actress, choreographer, director, producer and dancer. In 2017, she lent her voice and character EMCEE, to the 2018 OSCAR WINNER film Disney/Pixar’s “COCO” Her versatility as an artist has allowed her to pursue multiple projects, including significant roles in ABC’s “The Conners”, NBC’s “Mr. Mayor”, CBS’s “S.W.A.T”, FX’s “The Bridge”, “VEEP’, “For the People”, “AHS”, “Shameless,” “Young and Hungry,” “East Lost High”, “I’m Sorry”, “They Call Us Sediciosos”, HBO’s “UNIMUNDO 45”, “Cristina,” “Feeding Mr. Baldwin,” and “Miss.Patti”. BlancaAraceli has also appeared in several films: “Joy Ride” winner of the audience’s choice in the PBS Short film festival 2021. For the past 30 years she also has worked in more than 90 plays in USA, Mexico and Brazil. Her work was outstanding at the Dallas Theater Center, The Garry Marshall Theater and Pasadena Playhouse, in the Role of Carmen, in Josefina Lopez’s play: “Real Women Have Curves”. She received the “Favorite Actress Award”, at the 29th Annual Fred Awards.
Blanca Araceli, has received countless recognitions for her tireless work to promote the culture and folklore of Mexico and the World for more than 25 years, including the GOLDEN EAGLE AWARD for COMMUNITY IMPACT in 2019, “BE THE LIGHT” Award at Danzantes Unidos Festival 2022 & the most recent Latin American Motion Pictures Awards 2022. Since 1996, Ms. Araceli has been the director and choreographer of Tierra Blanca Dance Company in Los Angeles, California. Her passion for children led her to establish the Tierra Blanca Arts Center in 2002, and she has created several programs to help local talent to promote their culture, folk and tradition by bring quality theatrical performances, including Semblanza, Antorcha Cultural, Cultural Summer Camp, Foro de Arte y Cultura and Danza Escenica.
Her motto remains: “Cultural awareness brings better communities.”
DUF 2023 (ages 13+) – Dance Theater: Tercera Raiz “Tribute to Yanga”
In the mid XVI and XVII centuries, the black population were the overwhelming majority in Veracruz. The powerful forces of their music, rhythm, and dance had great weight over the new musical tradition and dancing of the newly born nation Indio Afro-Mestiza-Mexicana. In the port of Veracruz, the Inquisition labeled “Chuchumbe”an immoral dance and threatened to excommunicate those who divulged in the dance calling them “vulgar people, sailors, blacks and mulatos.”
Gaspar Yanga— known as the Primer Libertador de America or “first liberator of the Americas,” Gaspar Yanga led one of colonial Mexico’s first successful slave uprisings and would go on to establish one of Americas earliest free black settlements Palenque. Rumored to be of royal lineage from West Africa, Yanga was an enslaved worker in the sugarcane plantations of Veracruz, Mexico. In 1570 he, along with a group of followers, he escaped and fled to the mountainous regions near Córdoba where he established a settlement of former slaves. They remained there virtually unmolested by Spanish authorities for nearly 40 years. Taking on the role of spiritual and military leader he structured the agricultural community. During that time, Yanga and his band, also known as cimarrónes, were implicated in the disruption and looting of trade goods along the Camino Real (Royal Road) between Veracruz and Mexico City. They were also held responsible for attacking nearby haciendas and kidnapping indigenous women. Perceived as dangerous to the colonial system of slavery through their daring actions against royal commerce and authority, New Spain’s viceroy called for the annihilation of Yanga’s Palenque. Destroying the community and its leader would send a message to other would-be rebellious slaves that Spain’s authority over them was absolute. In 1609, Spanish authorities sent a well-armed militia to defeat Yanga and his Palenque but were defeated. Yanga’s surprise victory over the Spanish heightened the confidence of his warriors and the frustration in Mexico City. After defeating other Spanish forces sent again the Palenque, Yanga offered to make peace but with certain conditions. The most important being recognition of the freedom of all of the Palenque’s residents prior to 1608, acknowledgment of the settlement as a legal entity which Yanga and his descendants would govern, and the prohibition of any Spanish in the community. Yanga, in turn, promised to serve and pay tribute to the Spanish crown. After years of negotiations, in 1618, the town of San Lorenzo de Los Negros was officially recognized by Spanish authorities as a free black settlement. It would later be referred to as Yanga, named after its founder.
SONGS: Canto de Negros / Conga de San Benito
DUF 2023 will take place on March 31, April 1 & 2 in Fresno, CA.
Regular Registration ends on December 27, 2022
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