Monday, May 3, 2010

Dispatches from Mexico: Tests and Dia de los Ninos

Ten KCPD officers continue their Spanish immersion classes in Morelia, Mexico, and Sergeant Lionel Colon keeps us updated on what they're learning in the classroom and culturally around town:

April 28 and 29

Wednesday was our first round of tests to include both grammar and vocabulary. It was another reminder that in spite of all we have learned to this point, there is much more we have yet to absorb.


Wednesday afternoon was two-for-one at the Plaza de Las Americas! After class, we were able to try out half-price movies. Many of us met at Cinopolis to watch "Green Zone" and others at Plaza Morelia for "Alice in Wonderland." Green Zone had Spanish subtitles while Alice in Wonderland was completely in Spanish (since mostly children attend and couldn't read, we were told) and no English subtitles. We didn't spend but a few minutes after the movies looking through the mall shops as we found they were actually more expensive than our local malls. We then returned to our respective homes for dinner and homework.

April 30

TGIF! Many of us remained after classes today to get a head start on the homework given to us to "enjoy" over the weekend. Some returned to our respective homes for lunch. Some went with their host families to family events. Others found some cozy spots to eat and people watch. I headed to El Centro to see what festivities were being held in honor of "Dia de Los Ninos."

While there, I witnessed a plaza full of family activities, the most interesting of which was the traditional Danza de los Viejitos. The ornate costumes combined with the amazing dance steps to provide a great show.

The Danza de los Viejitos (dance of the old men) is a dance in Michoacan (the state in which Morelia is located). It is a humorous dance in which the dancers wear masks of old people along with their typical campesino (peasant) clothing. The dance starts out with aching and hunched over old men, with minimal movements. These movements turn into vigorous dancing combined with trembling and coughing and falling over by the "old men." The dance has lost its original meaning, and has now come to represent the richness of life expressed in a dance, as a gift to Baby Jesus, since they could not afford to give him anything else. The dance is done several times a year, during religious holidays.

Danza de los Viejitos (Dance of the Old Men)

Sergeant Colon and a viejito

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