----------------------------------------------- Google Site Map ----------------------------------------------- Cindy in ...: Mexico: Dancing in Merida's Streets, and Elsewhere

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Mexico: Dancing in Merida's Streets, and Elsewhere

The tiny woman next to me was dancing. Her feet barely reached the ground from the park bench where we were sitting, but they were moving. Tap-tap, slide, kick-kick, heel-to-toe and heel-to-heel. It was a Sunday afternoon in Merida.

The streets near the zocalo are blocked off on the weekends. They turn into pedestrian walkways, outdoor cafes, music venues, and dance floors. Typical dances are demonstrated, musicians perform on small stages set up near the newly blossomed outdoor restaurants, and everywhere, people dance.

Dance styles range from salsa to what we called the 'pony' when I was a student. The style, however, is not related to the music. Old men hold their hands in the air and snap their fingers to a techno beat, and young people dance however they want to traditional music.

Even the beats are different. When the music is Latin, there are a lot of beats to choose from, so some dance to a major rhythm, some to an underlying faster pace, and some mix the two.

And, as I mentioned, dancing is not confined to designated 'dance floors'. Your waiter might execute a few steps on the way to the kitchen, or a spectator from the back of the crowd may break into dance alone. When this happens, someone usually joins in, creating a sattelite. Grnadmothers carry their grandchildren, tapping their feet and teaching them to snap their fingers. Little kids show off for their parents. Everyone dances in the streets.

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