Danzantes Unidos is delighted to welcome back the renowned Mexican Folklorico dancer and choreographer, Amalia Viviana Basanta Hernandez to DUF 2020. Maestra Basanta Hernandez was born in Mexico City, the daughter of Mexican choreographer, Amalia Hernandez, and Argentine writer, Joaquin Basanta Crece. She began her dance training at the age of five, studying classical ballet under Nellie Happee. At age thirteen, Ms. Basanta Hernandez joined the National Ballet of Mexico under the direction of Guillermina Bravo. She pursued her interest in contemporary dance, studying abroad with Alvin Nikolai, Murray Louise, Hanya Holm and Alvin Ailey.
In 1977, she joined the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez as a dancer, where she revamped some of the works and repertoire created by her mother, Amalia Hernandez. In 1979, Ms. Basanta Hernandez became a soloist and later the Artistic Coordinator of the company for 15 years. In addition, she directed the school of the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico for ten years. While with the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, Ms. Basanta Hernandez researched and produced such ballets as “Navidad Mexicana,” “Tarahumara,” “Sones,” and “Gustos de Guerrero.” She has also created modern dance choreographies based on Mexican folk traditions, including “De Caña al Carnaval” and “Tierra de Mis Pasiones.”
She was also a soloist by invitation of the “Le Sorilege” Dance Company in Montreal, Canada. In 2002, Ms. Basanta opened her new dance school, “Academia de Danza Amalia Hernandez” with over 300 dance students. She continues to dance to this day. Honors bestowed upon Ms. Basanta Hernandez include the Cesar Chavez award from the University of Michigan, and the Artistry of Mexico Award presented by the United States Congress. She has also received the “Ulama” Award for her participation in the “Encuentro de Arte y Cultura” event by the Mexican Secretary of Education.
At DUF 2020 (Ages 18+) BODA EN LA HUASTECA
Maestra Amalia Viviana Basanta Hernandez will be sharing the suite “Boda En La Huasteca” from the repertoire of the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez.
Located in northeastern México, the Huasteca region is a land surrounded by tall boulders, flat plains and an extreme climate. Just like the land, its inhabitants are subject to extreme emotions that go from tenderness and love to passion and a violent hatred.
This suite tells the story about a young male rancher or vaquero indio (indigenous cowboy) who is on his way to his wedding where he meets a charming young indigenous girl. Not able to resist the temptation of her romance, the two individuals exchange a passionate encounter. Meanwhile at the village church, the bride who awaits her future husband initiates the nuptial dance in which she is crowned with the traditional nuptial flower corsage.
There, the musicians begin to sing the following verses: “I come from the black hill; where the flowers are present; where there are vices there is modesty; where there are roses there are thorns; where there are smiles there is pain and tears burst from your cheeks when there is love.”
When the groom finally arrives, the couple accompanied by the villagers begin to dance in which the groom courts his new bride. But in the middle of the joyous festivities, a rival of the groom arrives and tries to leave with the bride. In a matter of seconds, the happiness disappears, and the two men get a hold of their machetes and fight until the rival dies.
“Take him away!” says one of the musicians, “and let the celebration and the music continue!” …. summarizing with these words the typical attitude towards life and death that is present in the Huasteca region. The celebration continues in its entire splendor until the bride and groom along with their friends, leave the church, leaving behind two plañideras or weeping women mourning the dead man, representing the only memory of the fight and death of the rival.
The Danzantes Unidos Festival “DUF 2020” will take place on April 3, 4 & 5 in Fresno, CA.
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