Monday, February 26, 2007

Karneval Dancers

Karneval (Mardi Gras) is such a colorful time here on the island. Colorful costumes and colorful people. We aren't big enough or rich enough for the grand floats that are featured in larger cities. A big stage is erected in the town square where bands and the various dance troups perform. There is also a live band or two, brought in from who knows where in Mexico. Judging from the type of music they play, Ranchero, I would say the northern part. Must be a treat for them to come to a tropical island!

I love the dance troups. They range in age from toddlers who just walk about in a big group, accompanied by proud mothers, showing off their little outfits. But my favorite, hands down, is the senior citizens girls. They try really hard but they just never seem to get their choreography down. For that matter, not many of the troups do. I think they spend more time on making their costumes than on rehearsal. During the week preceeding the big dance competion on Saturday, the troups perform all over downtown for the tourists. There is usually somebody in the sidelines going around taking donations. This helps defray the cost of these costumes.

Here you see the choreographer/designer helping the girls make last minute adjustments. Once they started dancing, she ran back and forth barking orders at them and correcting their alignment. She reminded me of a border collie herding sheep!

See what I mean? Arms everywhere. The dears heard her say "Hands Up!" but she didn't specify which one!

No attention to detail is spared in putting together these costumes. Well, except for maybe cutting off the string used to tie the flowers on with!

Then we have the middle school kids. Definately a step up in their choreography. Notice the precision of this line up.

The music starts and they are off! Although I hate clowns, I like the little clown ruffles on the boys. Really accents the foot movement. In this picture, I love that both the little girl and boy in front of her are showing off their underwear. I don't think it is intentional.

And then, and then, we have the high school girls. Definately a big notch up on the professional scale.

I was quite surprised to see Jennifer Lopez performing with this group! If it is not her, this girl is stunning in her own right.

And then we have "Miss Cool". Sunglasses and all. I think she was a victim of peer pressure because she definately has the my-shit-don't-stink attitude going. I don't think she really wanted to be there, but she was a good dancer all the same.

Again, the detail! You probably can't tell it, but these sequins were all hand sewn onto a patch and then sewn onto the costume. Must have taken hours.

I passed by the bandstand one day. They had done another fine, Mexican job of rigging up the wiring for the bands loudspeakers. This is all within an unattended toddlers reach.

This couple was just standing, staring off into space when I asked them if I could take their picture. They immediately struck this pose. I think part of their training is how to pose for the tourists.

These girls, from the same troup, were "nonchalantly" standing on a nearby wall. When they spotted me with my camera, zap! Up went the skirts in another dramatic pose.

Ladies and Gentlemen (insert drum roll here) presenting this year's King and Queen of Karneval!

I think everyone on the island was downtown on this portion of the street this day. I held my camera above my head and just snapped away. Satisfied that I had a good crowd shot, I left all this crazy merry making behind and headed back for the safety and sanity of my house!

Until next year, that is!

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