Nuevo León Centro brings us popular polkas and huapangos from the center of México’s northern state, Nuevo León, a suite created in 1996 to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the City of Monterrey and restaged in 2018 for Los Lupeños de San José’s 50th Anniversary.
The dances in the suite are:
De China a Bravo, named for two towns, a redova with twisting legs to a tune by accordion player Antonio Tanguma; El Guajolote, also known as Turkey in the Straw; regional favorite Evangelina, a polka about dreaming of a poor man’s daughter, by Daniel Andrade; El Circo— The Circus; El Pávido; El Lucero—Bright Star, named for a town, a huapango by Andrade; and the beautiful huapango El Potrillo—The Foal, inspired by the song, El Viejito, by Rafael Silva.
The song for El Pávido (Pávido Návido) is by Valentín Elizalde, with double/triple entendres about a weak-hearted man:
Ya se reventó el columpio donde ella se columpiaba ya se le acabaron los gustos a la joven que yo amaba. Bienvenivido al pavidonávido donde esta su esposa návida…
The porch swing already broke where she was swinging and already gone is the desire for the young woman I loved. Welcome to pávido návido where your wife is timid…
In the 19th century, along the US-México border, European immigrants contributed a long list of melodies, dances, and instruments: cuadrille, rigaudon, square dance, lancero, contradanza, schottische, polka, redova, mazurka, and waltz; violin, accordion, and six-string bajo sexto. Embraced in Nuevo León, European steps evolved into distinctive pespunteados, de punta y talón, carreritas, entrecruces, and paso polkeado. Musicians added double bass, clarinet, saxophone, and the snare drum, and this energetic, exuberant form was born.
Artistic Director Samuel Cortez learned these pieces from Maestro Jaime Guerrero Hernández, Director of Ballet Folklórico Magisterial de Nuevo León. Traditional costumes by Jesus Daniel Andrade González include the women’s Spanish-influenced lacy, puckered blouses, pastelone pleated skirts, cameos, hair combs, and fans; and men’s Apache-influenced suede cuera jacket. The music is by Madrigal Musical, a versatile group of professional musicians from the South Bay.
Founded in 1969, Los Lupeños de San José is among California’s earliest organized Mexican folk dance companies. Known for its artistry, history, traditions, innovation, and trajectory, the group is passionate about learning and executing their traditional art form, and being a positive force in the California dance community. It’s a program of the nonprofit Cashion Cultural Legacy since 2014.
July 6 & 7
Dance Origin: México
Genre: Folkloric (Mestizo)
Title: Nuevo León Centro
Photo: RJ Muna