National Library of Congress
Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac performs Aztec dance from Pennsylvania, another in the 2009 Homegrown Concert Series sponsored by the American Folklife Center.
Speaker Biography: Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac (which translates from the Aztec language as "School of the Blood Moving in the Heart") performs thoroughly researched recreations of ancient Aztec music and dance from Mexico. The group was founded by Daniel Chico Lorenzo and Brujo de la Mancha in 2003. Daniel has extensive knowledge of ancient Mexican culture and languages; his first language was Nahuatl, an indigenous Mesoamerican language closely related to the one spoken by the ancient Aztecs. Brujo is a multidisciplinary artist and became the dance and music teacher for OYC when Daniel returned to his hometown in December 2006. Brujo also makes the group's musical instruments and choreographs their dances. The members of OYC are immigrants from various parts of Mexico, residing in and around Philadelphia. They see their troupe as a chance to teach both Mexicans and Americans about their shared indigenous history. Dressed in animal skins, feathers and ankle shakers made from seeds, the dancers pay respect to the four corners of the planet before beginning their dance, which is accompanied by the huehuetl (drum). They perform frequently at community events throughout the Philadelphia region, and are particularly known for celebrations of the Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo, Summer Solstice and other holidays celebrated by their Aztec forebears and their Mexican contemporaries.