Aztec Dancers Perform At Powwows

Aztec Dancers Perform At Powwows

Aztec Dancers Are A Colorful Addition To Powwows

An entertaining and common event at most powwows is an exhibition of Aztec Dancers, who usually perform at dinner break. Aztecs are native peoples indigenous to the Americas, specifically Mexico. Some Native Americans don’t accept Aztecs as native peoples, but they are.

Long before the invading Spanish hit the Americas, there were no borders. It is also believed that the Pueblo peoples and ancient Anasazi peoples of the southwestern states originally came from the south from what is known today as Mexico.

The word Aztec means ‘man of Aztlan’, the place where the Mexica came from. The term was not commonly used until 18th and 19th century historians adopted it. The Aztec people referred to themselves as Mexica after the migration. This is how they came to be known to the Spaniards, hence the name Mexico.

The language of the true Mexican people is not Spanish but Nautal, an Indian language. There actually well over 60 other Indian languages in Mexico, many of which are still spoken today.

Today’s Aztec dancers are dedicated to preserving the traditions and rituals of the pre-Hispanic culture through the expression of dance and ceremony. They perform at various special events throughout the year and regularly at powwows.

During the Aztecs performance, the dancers, comprised of both male and female, wear traditional regalia, including large ornate and colorful feather head dresses and seed leggings called chachayotls that make a rattling noise when they dance. Before they start dancing, one of the dancers will sound the drum and sea shell alert. The dances represent the forces of nature, the universal four corners of the earth, human existence and the struggle for power among the elements.

There are Aztec dance troupes in nearly all cities, especially in the western and southwestern states. The Aztec dancers are a regular and important component of today’s powwows. They always invite spectators towards the end of their exhibition to join hands in a circle and dance with them. Aztec dancers offer a beautiful performance that is fun for all.

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Categories: Powow Dancers

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Becky Olvera Schultz

Becky Olvera Schultz is an artist and photographer whose background includes journalism, advertising and marketing. She has been in involved with the powwow circuit for several years, participating as a vendor and as a member of powwow planning committees. For more information on Becky, visit her art site at