Kalpully Kuahucihuatl is the name of an Aztec Dance (Danza Azteca) troupe formed in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
The Name: Kalpully Kuahucihuatl
The name chosen by the traditional Aztec dance group “Kalpully Kuahucihuatl” means “Woman with the Face of the Eagle”. Kalpully Kuahucihuatl plays often in and around Zihuatanejo, at festivals and on days of worship.
This series of photos, which accompanies a brief description of the “Danzantes”, shows Kalpully Kuahucihuatl dancing and chanting in front of Galeria Ixchel Maya in downtown Zihuatanejo.
The Aztec Dance, “Danza Azteca” in Spanish or “Mi’totiliztli” in Nahuatl, is one of the most basic manifestations of the artistic and cultural spirit of the native people of Mexico. It is a mixture of thousands of years of history of both the agrarian and militaristic ethnic groups of the area, and the integration of pre-columbian and Christian rituals as evolved over the centuries.
The Dance represents the eternal search of man for cosmic harmony and integration, both of his body and his spirit, and all the chants of Aztec Dance ritual refer to this essential process.
The Aztec Dance has been referred to as a form of prayer and a total way of life and communication. It is one of the few native dance rituals that permits the participation of women.
The dancers unite to create a corporal expression to worship and communicate with their gods and goddesses as they are expressed in nature as well as in the Christian tradition.
The Dance Leader, “Tlayeconqui“, and his dancers are clothed in elaborate traditional outfits made of colorful embroidered cloth and animal skins, often adorned with polished stones or mirrors and accessories made of shells and seed pods.
The women wear highly decorated skirts or tunics, and the men sport a type of loincloth, or “maaxtlati“.
Most impressive are the headdresses, or penachos, made of feathers of pheasants, eagles or other birds, which in movement provide a mezmerizing effect to the movements of the dance.
The chants and movements are strung together with the sound of the beating of drums made of wood and gourds tensed with animal skins, or the tongued hollow log drum, the “teponaztle“, with it’s rich, spirit touching vibrations. Mandolin-like instruments, made of “conchas de armadillo” or armadillo shells, are also played along with reed and clay flutes, tambourines and rattles made of shells and seeds.
Seed pods and metal bells are also worn around the ankles of the dancers and serve both as instruments, sounding with every step of their dance, and as visual adornment.