Dance de Los Voladores
Dance de Los Voladores
By Malcolm Callister
On most days in Tlaquepaque, you can see the dance of Los Valadores, the dance of the Flying men who perform the Sundance. This dance is a call to the sun and the earth, a plea for fertility. Four flying men lunch themselves backward from the top of their 25-meter pole.
The Distant Sound of a Flute
Linda and I were in Tlaquepaque sightseeing and shopping for colorful Mexican treasures that would not fit into our Travel Trailer. Then on the crowded pedestrian-only streets at the heart of the shopping district, we heard a flute being played. The high-pitched notes carry over the sounds of happy conversations that are all about you, and even penetrates the music of the wandering mariachi bands. The high-pitched hypnotic tone is played for the Dance de Los Valadores. It is a mesmerizing sound that draws you towards it.
Suddenly the crowd’s part, you see them
Five or six men in vibrant colored clothing heads bowed in a state of prayer as they dance around a twenty-five-meter-tall pole. Then just one man at a time the spiritual leader guides four flyers to the platform on the top of the pole. Their leader has the flute and a drum, he stands on the top of the pole, he turns slowly making sacred supplications to the sun god. These men are not acting they believe in the ancient need to fly. Wearing their traditional clothing they mimic the colorful birds of the tropical forest.
The Sundance has been performed by indigenous people from the area of Veracruz on the Central Gulf Coast of Mexico from before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors. This is an ancient fertility ceremony. The spiritual guide makes invocations to the spirits before the flying men bring with them the sun, rain, and fertility to the ground. They fly, tethered by a slowly unwinding rope in ever increasing circles like hawks on an inverse thermal, they spiral symbolically thirteen times towards the ground.
Once on the ground, the dancers mingle with the crowds collecting donations. One of the flyers, Miguel told me in broken English;
“This dance is an honor to perform. It is a tradition of our culture, passed from Grandfather to Grandson.”
I am grandfather, I don’t like hieghts, I belong to a different culture. Linda and I are enjoying our RV Lifestyle, our three-year Adventure in Mexico, by RV. We are getting to know the people and their cultures, we learn a little of the heights that people will go to the maintain their view of life.
M&L Tip for the week.
When your GPS tells you to turn left, beware the gods of the Mexican road system may have made it physically or legally impossible. Relax, turn right, a “Retorno” will be provided within the next few kilometers for you in your rig to simply perform a U-Turn!!! Don’t try this at Night.