The UUFCO Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon) has brought many amazing things to my life, most recently, Aztec Danza. Yesterday evening I had my second session dancing with the group at COCC (Central Oregon Community College). After watching them perform during service on Sunday, it was such a privilege to practice with them.
Each time I am in the groups presence I learn something new. This week, the group slowed down the most basic and integral steps and explained their meaning for me, an homage to the four elements which make up our bodies, wind, water, earth, and fire. Wow.
After riding my bike to meet up (COCC is on a massive hill) and waking that morning with the beginnings of a cold, I was exhausted and by the final few dances needed to take a break. This is a time when one should sit at the central alter and meditate quietly. Sitting there while the group danced around me, sent of sage burning below me, I could feel the vibrations of the dancers. The air would shift and turn as they moved toward and away from the alter. The shells on their leg ornaments knocked together at my ear level and it was amazing to participate in the danza circle this way, what a different perspective.
I am looking forward to practicing with the group weekly. The dances are percussion based and largely go off 4 counts. With most choreographed styles of dance a bit rigid, this seems like a structure I have been looking for, set steps but a massive amount of personal style acceptable. Plus, the major advantage, no partners are necessary in a dance circle….
The group is performing this Wednesday at the Library, 6pm for Dia de Los Muertos. Bring a photo of a loved one gone and any Marigolds you might have (according to the Aztecs, this is the flower that the dead can see and will attract them back to us) to set on the alter.