Milagros Ayoltzin at the Danza Azteca on the Quad Oct. 15, 2021

Danza Azteca and indigenous culture at HSU

In celebration of Indigenous People's Week, a Danza Azteca performance was held on the Quad

The smell of copal incense fills the quad as dancers don their cultural wear. They are wearing bright and ornate traditional garb. As the dancers step into their space, the rattling of their ayoyotes announces their entry. Dancer Raymond Ramirez blows a conch horn and the drums beat to start the Danza Azteca performance. Students walking by cannot help but stop to see the occasion.

Danza Azteca is a traditional form of dance to honor Earth, elements, and connection. The HSU community turned out to learn and participate in the cultural event on Friday. The colorful and energetic performance helped to share culture on campus.

Milagros Ayoltzin, one of the dancers, began at the age of 6. Her 35 years of experience have helped to keep the culture alive. She began dancing in Los Angeles with one of the first Danza Azteca groups in the United States, Xipe Totec. She believes that it an important to bring culture to campuses.

“It’s very important to share your culture,” Ayoltzin said. “Expressing ourselves is so important because it keeps us rooted to who we are. I think it’s something that is being lost. But it can help you find yourself no matter where you are.”

HSU students can now learn about Danza Azteca on campus too. Salvador Hernadez is an HSU student who is currently in the Danza Azteca class. The class debuted this semester with an accompanying club.

“We learn about the dances, the four directions, the ceremonies, we have the alter, blessings, and how to drum,” Hernadez said. “It’s my culture. Growing up, I never got to learn this. It’s exciting seeing it now even though it’s so far away from home.”

Hernandez recommends the class or club which meet on Wednesdays 7-8 pm. He thinks of it as a family and as a space to heal from the stress of the day.

“It’s spiritual when you get in the classroom, and you hear the drums beating, and you feel one with the Earth and yourself. You go and dance and get all the stress out. It’s emotional, but it’s like I’m having a bad day lets go dance about it.”

Hernandez enjoyed watching the Fire Serpent dance as the dancers held fire to their skin. Dancers ask permission from the serpent to approach a flame. The Fire Serpent dance takes place as a ceremony every 52 years representing a reset. Dancer Juan Ruiz explained the personal meaning behind the dance after the event.

“We’re all going through some struggle, some battle, [this dance] is a reminder to capture, reset, and keep going,” Ruiz said. “It is a way of closing and ending a cycle. It’s connected to every one of us.”

Along with the performances on Friday and Saturday, dance, drumming, and copili feather workshops took place in the Jolly Green Commons throughout the weekend.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on reddit

More Stories

John Craigie merges folk with humor at the Van Duzer Theatre

by Brad Butterfield John Craigie blended comedic anecdotes with folk music, creating a one-of-a-kind show on March 1 at the Van Duzer Theatre. Describing himself as ‘the love child of John Prine and Mitch Hedberg with a vagabond troubadour edge,’

Women’s volleyball club is being formed at Cal Poly Humboldt

by Jake Knoeller and Dezmond Remington For the first time, a women’s club volleyball team is being formed at Cal Poly Humboldt. The idea was brought up when a large number of women were consistently attending the men’s practices, including

Authors’ Celebration brings writers together

by Dezmond Remington Writers are famously loners, depicted in media as squirreled away in some dark cabin deep in the woods or confined to a cockroach-infested apartment. At the bare minimum, they’re often regarded as imprisoned in their own minds,


  1. Lita Gonzalez Lita Gonzalez Saturday, February 12, 2022

    Hi! Are still giving Aztec dance classes? I’m really interested, thanks

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: