Merida has always seemed to us a place that takes its dancing very seriously. Besides the traditional jarana dancers that form the folkloric traditions in this part of Mexico, the city is filled with ballet, jazz and modern dance studios. Each year, the Carnival parade is filled with dancers of all ages from the local dance schools. And the theatres are often host to dance companies from other parts of the Latin World.
This week, at the Daniel Ayala Pérez Theater, which has been recently renovated, there will be a dance program of a kind we have not seen here yet. Maestra Sangeeta Isvaran will be bringing to Merida a dance demonstration of a popular Tamil dance form danced by temple dancers in India and called Bharatanatyam.
It is said to be the embodiment of music in visual form, an act of worship and a ceremony in and of itself. According to Wikipedia, it is essentially a manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body and the dancers are meant to represent the movements of a dancing flame.
The theatre is located on Calle 60, one half block north of the Plaza Grande. The program will begin at 9:00 PM on Thursday, April 19. General admission tickets are $30 pesos, but students can get in for half that price.
Want to learn more before you go? Here’s Wikipedia’s page on Bharatanatyam.
Other worthy events this week?
ArTequio Oaxaca at the Merida English Library, Calle 53 #524 x 66 y 68. From 4 PM to 7 PM, MEL hosts a display and sale of Oaxacan graphic works from the Soruco Graphic Workshop in Oaxaca. Many of these artists have had to relocate due to recent unstable conditions in Oaxaca. Refreshments provided. MEL receives part of proceeds. Members only, but don’t let that stop you. Join the library!
Trio Despertar Don’t miss this one! This trio is the first place winner in the Contest of Trios, organized by the National Chamber of Commerce! They’ll be singing in the Dr. Silvio Zavala Vallado Auditorium at The Olimpo. Date: Wednesday April 18. Time: 9:00 PM and admission is free for adults and children over the age of six.
Want to see a movie? Titus starring Jessica Lange and Anthony Hopkins plays at the Videosala at The Olimpo on Thursday at 7 PM. On Friday, go to the same place and watch Sense and Sensibility starring Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant. Both movies are free for adults and adolescents (no kids).
Every week of the year, there are many events in Merida’s Centro Historico. These events are put on by the city government and are free to the public. They are ongoing events that are enjoyed by the city’s tourists, but to our delight, are held not for tourists (with the possible exception of the Vaquería on Monday nights) but for the general population. Merida loves to sing and dance!
For detailed information, you can check Yucatan’s cultural website.
For a quick reference, the following is the regular weekly schedule of events:
Vaquería Folkloric Ballet, the traditional dance of the Yucatan. Members of the Jaranera Orchestra perform for this well-attended event.
First floor of the Municipal Palace on the Calle 62 side of the Plaza Grande.
Every Monday at 9:00 PM Conversaciones con Amigos ( Conversations with Friends). Open to everyone, do not have to be a member to attend. Opportunity to practice Spanish or English in a congenial setting. Merida English Library, Calle 53 #524 x 66 y 68.
Every Monday at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Admission: small donation
Remembrance Musicals – Big Band music in an outdoor setting
Parque de Santiago, between Calle 59 and 57 on Calle 72.
Every Tuesday at 8:30 PM Martes de Trova (Trova Tuesdays) at the Dr. Silvio Zavala Vallado Auditorium in The Olimpo (corner of Calle 61 and Calle 62).
Every Tuesday at 8:30 PM. Admission is free for adults and children over the age of six.
Regional Plays, mostly in Spanish. Some in Mayan.
Various Parks and Colonias in the city of Merida. Check Cultural Calendar for location.
Every Wednesday at 8:00 PM
“To Remember is to Live” – Big Band music outdoors and early! For all those people who want to enjoy the music without staying up late.
Parque Zoológico del Centenario (The Zoo), at Calle 59 and Avenida Itzaes.
Every Thursday at 4:00 PM Yucatecan Serenade – Music and dance performers under the stars.
Parque Santa Lucía, Calle 60 and Calle 55, Downtown.
Every Thursday at 9:00 PM
Baila Mérida (Merida Dances)
Various Parks and Colonias around the city. Check Cultural Calendar for location.
Every Friday at 9:00 PM Noches Románticas en La Hermita (Romantic Nights in the Hermitage)
In the Parque de la Ermita de Santa Isabel at Calle 66 and Calle 79
1st and 3rd Fridays at 9:00 PM
Noche Mexicana (Mexican Night) – The rest of Mexico comes to Merida on Saturday nights. Beautiful folkloric singing and dancing from all over Mexico. Chairs are set up on Saturday afternoon and locals claim their seats as soon as the sun goes down. By the time the music starts, it’s usually standing room only in front of the stage. But you can hear the music anywhere in the general area. Between the stage and Calle 47 are booths selling handcrafts and food. A lovely party in the cool of the evening.
At the beginning of Paseo Montejo, Calle 56 A between 47 and 49
at 7:00 PM En El Corazón de Mérida (In the Heart of Merida)
This is held in Centro… in the Plaza Grande and in the streets surrounding it. Calles 62 and 60 are blocked to car traffic after about 8 pm and the restaurants set up their tables in the streets. Temporary stages host everything from rock to salsa to trova singers. Every night is different.
Every Saturday night, from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Mérida en domingo (Mérida on Sunday) – When all of Merida comes out to play, stroll, relax, visit and shop. In the center of the Plaza Grande are all the booths selling goods for sale: hats, hammocks, guayaberas, huipiles, dolls, jewelry, tshirts, honey, plants, you name it. Ringing the plaza are booths set up to feed the revelers. Tacos, cochinita, lechon, panuchos, marquesitas, ice cream…yum! There are multi-passenger bicycles with surreys on top for rent to pedal around the square. Great people watching and bargain hunting.