Palacio de Bellas Artes
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Mexican Folk Dance at its Finest
Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández is Mexico’s oldest, finest, and most celebrated dance company. Dancer and choreographer Hernández founded the company in 1952 to preserve Mexico’s dance traditions, dating all the way back to pre-Columbian civilizations. Today, the troupe, which is based in Mexico City, features a cast of 75 dancers and musicians who continue to perform the colorful, historic dances of Mexico. The ensemble performs three times weekly at the Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes). You can buy tickets online from ticketmaster.mx and then pick them up at the counter on the night of the performance. Palacio de Bellas Artes is a small but beautiful art deco style building. If you go for a performance, arrive early so you can walk around and check out the famous murals, including one by Diego Rivera, in the building’s galleries.
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A Nod to the Native
As with so many cultures, Mexico’s has shifted over time. Before the country was conquered by the Spanish, Aztec culture dominated the area. After all, it is from their word, Mexica ("Me-shee-ka"), that the name "Mexico" is derived from. In 1521, the Aztecs were defeated by Hernán Cortés and for the next 300 years, the country’s national identity, as shaped by state, religion and popular culture, was defined by all that which is Spanish. After Mexico gained its independence from Spain, driven mainly by political forces, the country’s indigenous culture was incorporated into the national identity giving rise to a fusion culture known as the mestizo. Today’s Mexico is a rich, multicultural nation and for me, this is what makes Mexican culture unique. The Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández is the country’s premier dance troupe and several of its dances, although stylized performances, celebrate Mexico's native cultures. There is also the Jaguar dance which is a male solo performance that pays tribute to the Aztec warrior culture. They are spectacular to watch! Check the company’s website for the schedule of performances and buy your tickets from ticketmaster.com.mx. In Mexico City, the performances are held in the beautiful Art Deco styled Palacio des Bellas Artes. You can just go there and pick up your ticket on the night of the performance. Both photography and video cameras are allowed!
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