The Folkloric Ballet of the State of Mexico is one of the most important dance representatives of Mexico. The performance has the objective of rescuing the history and folklore of Mexico’s traditional dances and promoting them throughout the world. They have performed around North America, Europe and Asia, including Expo Aichi 2005, Festival of Culture and Tourism, Korea 2007 and in Beijing in advance of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
At a performance attended by Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara, the Ballet performed a variety of traditional dances, including los Concheros, La Bamba, Jarabe Tapatio, and the legend of the volcanoes representing the origin of the Mexican volcanoes Popocatepetl and Iztacihuatl.
Click here for a Gallery of images from the Mexico National Day performance at Expo Yeosu.
The Cultural Polo Club was created to promote cultural awareness and raise funds for artistic, cultural and educational foundations in the Washington, D.C. area. Hear what Cultural Club Co-Chair and polo player, Nicolas Baca, tells MexicoToday.
The diverse region of Oaxaca, Mexico has one of the most distinct culinary styles in all of Mexico. The colonial city of Oaxaca, Mexico is known most famously for its seven moles, all containing different flavors and origins. As a result, Oaxaca, Mexico is sometimes referred to as the “land of… seven moles.” Every 20th of November, the anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, near the zocalo in Oaxaca, some of the most authentic culinary marvels can be found.
Local Mexican families and tourists come from all over to congregate in the alleyway full of delicious grilled vegetables, tortillas, carne de res, raw meats, pork cutlets, steak, and pork chorizo. In order to find the “barbeque alley” in Oaxaca, Mexico, one must just follow their nose because the delicious smells of the meats span miles throughout the city. In the alleyway, individuals can pick their meat of choice and watch as the “asador”, or grill jockey prepares the meat with different spices. The event has become a renowned holiday, bringing people from all over to indulge in the diversity of Mexican food and culture.
The Mexican Revolution spurred a complete revolution of art, literature, and music as well as a revolution of thought, politics, and social norms. With the onslaught of war and eventual liberation, some of the most innovatively creative movements began to appear in Mexico. Today, the Mexico City local music group… “Mexican Institute of Sound” or Instituto Mexicano Del Sonido is instigating creative waves in their own way, looking to the past for inspiration and a sense of modern identity.
Camilo Lara, the singer, DJ, producer, and brains behind the “Mexican Institute of Sound” is using the musical styles of the past in a completely new and ground-breaking way of his own. The “Mexican Institute of Sound” blends folk, cumbia, electronic, mariachi, and norteño influences to truly create something new and exciting. Lara uses his computer and imagination to generate pioneering beats with a certain adherence to the past history and the cultural profoundness of Mexico. The group is set to release their new album Politico on August 14th. Camilo Lara recently served as a guest DJ on NPR Music’s program, Alt Latino, dedicated to Latin Alternative music and rock sung in Spanish.
I first visited Playa del Carmen, a coastal fishing village turned luxury resort destination, several years ago. I spent a couple of weeks traveling along Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya, and I was sure that I had seen most of the major area attractions. It’s only now that I’m… living in town, that I’m finally realizing how much I had missed out on during that first visit!
Playacar is one of the places that I had originally overlooked on my first visit to Playa del Carmen; now that I’m a couple of weeks into my half marathon training, I’ve been wanting to check it out – mainly because I’ve heard it’s a great place to run outdoors. The other day, after a quick trip to the immigration office, I finally had a chance to walk the roughly 3.5 mile (5.6 km) loop, along the perfectly landscaped and palm-lined Paseo Xaman Ha, the main avenue that loops through Playacar. Since then, I’ve been back a couple of times to jog the loop and hit the beaches.
Located directly south of Playa del Carmen, Playacar is a gated residential community and upscale resort destination. It’s divided into two sections or fases (phases). Phase I extends along the coast and is lined with all-inclusive luxury resorts. Here you’ll also find the Aviario Xaman Ha (Xaman Ha Aviary), a shopping plaza and a Starbucks. Phase II is a primarily residential area with condominiums, vacation rentals and private villas built around a golf course.
Among the all-inclusive luxury resorts that you’ll find in Playacar are Sandos Playacar, the Iberostar Quetzal, the Reef Playacar Resort and Spa, the Occidental Royal Hideaway, the Wyndham Maya Resort, the Hotel Riu Playacar and the Playacar Golf Club and Spa. The expansive 18-hole Playacar Golf Course at the Playacar Golf Club and Spa was designed by world-renowned course architect Robert von Hagge and is recognized as one of the top golf courses in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
As for whether or not Playacar is a good place to go for a run, it definitely is. Sidewalks extend the length of Paseo Xaman Ha, and they’re far less crowded than in downtown Playa del Carmen. Pedestrian crosswalks are clearly marked and you don’t have to navigate any busy intersections. You’ll encounter very few obstacles – there aren’t any street food carts taking up space on the sidewalks in Playacar – instead, all that you’ll really need to watch out for is the occasional biker, and you can easily enjoy a pleasant and largely uninterrupted run, walk or jog along Paseo Xaman Ha.
Mornings are a popular time to run outdoors in Playa del Carmen, and your best chance for beating the mid-day heat. Of course, if it does get too hot, you can always head out to the beaches and cool off with a quick dip in the ocean. Like most Caribbean destinations, Playacar’s beaches are spectacular and one of my favorite places to spend a beach day in Playa del Carmen.
Playacar’s resorts are set back from the water’s edge, leaving wide expanses of powder white sand that see far fewer visitors than the beaches in town. Most importantly, all of Mexico’s beaches are public and you’re welcome to enjoy all of them, whether or not you’re a guest at any of the resorts.
If You Go: The main entrance to Playacar is located at the end of 10 Avenida Sur in Playa del Carmen. Playacar’s beaches begin just south of the Cozumel ferry terminal and extend for almost 2 miles (about 3 km) along the coast. If you’re not a guest at one of the resorts, then accessing the beaches from Paseo Xaman Ha can be tricky as beach access via the resorts is often restricted to guests (although I’ve heard that Playacar residents are also allowed resort access to the beaches). Everyone else can access the beaches via some of the smaller beachfront streets within Playacar as well as a staircase that leads down to the beach near Señor Frogs, a beachfront restaurant and bar located at the end of La Quinta Avenida (5 Avenida Norte) across from the Cozumel ferry terminal.
For runners: Looking for a fall race to run? The Maratón Ecológico de la Riviera Maya (Riviera Maya Marathon) is scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 28, 2012 in Playa del Carmen; more info at www.maratonrivieramaya.com.
Experience the vibrant Mayan culture first hand combined with the peace and beauty of Tibetan spiritual practices in a one-of-a-kind event held in Mexico’s stunning Riviera Maya. Hacienda Tres Rios resort is hosting its Mayan Tibetan Bicultural Encounter for the second year in a row. This… memorable week is filled with spiritual ceremonies, entrancing traditional dances and eye-catching artwork from two fascinating cultures from opposite sides of the globe.
From September 11 – 16, 2012, guests staying at the Hacienda Tres Rios resort will have the chance to participate in an extensive list of activities highlighting Mayan and Tibetan cultures in the paradise-like setting of Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Event attractions include conferences by archaeology and astronomy experts, beautiful dances combining Mexican and Tibetan traditions, a cleansing ceremony at a cenote set in the resort’s lush jungles, a fire ceremony, ancient Mayan Temazcal rituals, Tibetan blessings known as “pujas” and breathtaking sand mandalas created by skilled Tibetan monks. In addition, Cancun Theater in the exciting Cancun Hotel Zone will be hosting a special presentation featuring Mayan and Tibetan dance rituals on the evening of September 13, 2012, a show you won’t want to miss!
Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will fuse their traditions with the local Mayan population for an absolutely unforgettable event at the Second Mayan-Tibetan Bicultural Encounter 2012.
Mexico Today recently had the opportunity to interview Bruny Schoener, one of the creators of this vivid cultural event, to get her view on how the encounter began and its positive effects on both the Tibetan and Mayan cultures.
What was the inspiration for combining the Mayan and Tibetan cultures?The idea to create an event combining spiritual practices and cultures came from Daniel Arroyo, joint Vice President of sales and marketing at Hacienda Tres Rios. Seeing the beautiful Hacienda grow from its roots was inspiration enough for the Arroyo family to create such a marvelous encounter, where nature merges with the culture of native Mayans and the great spiritual strength of the Tibetans.When living in the Yucatan Peninsula, you get to experience the magnificent and peaceful energy of the area, so the thought of bringing together the traditions, spiritual practices and beliefs of these two great cultures came naturally. Combining the heights of Tibet with the turquoise ocean of Quintana Roo, and the cold snows of the Himalayas with the warmth of the tropics allowed us to create a unique event that highlights the best of both.
How can guests staying at Hacienda Tres Rios resort participate in this event?All guests staying at Hacienda Tres Rios can participate in all of the activities free of charge. The only fee would be for transportation to the dance performance at Cancun Theater on September 13, 2012.
What is the biggest difference you have seen between the Mayan and Tibetan ceremonies?While the Tibetans were able to rescue their tablets with written history, the Mayans were unable hold onto their tangible history after the Spanish conquest destroyed the vast majority of their belongings. Ever since, cultural traditions and wisdoms are passed down by different methods in each culture: Tibetans learn their history from past generations through their tablets, while Mayans pass down their history through legends, word and dance. As a result, ceremonies performed by Tibetan monks all have a similar feel no matter which monastery they belong to, while Mayan shamans each add their own personal style to their ceremonies. That being said, there are also several surprising similarities. For instance, both the Tibetan and Mayan cultures have ceremonies where they chant or sing to the four cardinal points, tying the four corners together.
How do experiences like this bicultural encounter affect the Riviera Maya’s local population?The Riviera Maya is a place that has a tremendous amount of cultural wealth, filled with traces of archaeology and history. However, the vast majority of tourists visiting the Cancun and Riviera Maya area are searching for beautiful beaches, fun and relaxation. It is an honor for Hacienda Tres Rios to support the Mayan culture through an event that will generate more awareness of Mexico's culture for our guests and visitors.
What makes Hacienda Tres Rios such a great setting for the encounter?Hacienda Tres Rios is a resort property that has prioritized a respect for nature throughout its history. Therefore, it is an honor and a pleasure to host an event where the Mayan and Tibetan cultures, both of which teach a love for nature and living things, can blend together in a colorful and harmonious natural setting.
For more information on being a part of the Second Mayan-Tibetan Bicultural Encounter 2012, please check out the event’s main page.
In today’s MexicoToday Insider Olympics Special, we see just how tremendous El Tri has been at London 2012! El Tri, the Mexican National Football Team, defeated Japan 3-1 on Tuesday night at Wembley and Mexico fans were out in full force! Additionally, we’ve got a wrap up of Mexico’s strong Olympic performances… in canoeing, taekwondo, equestrian, rowing and diving.
“Think outside the box” is usually no more than the last phrase you hear your boss say before you nod off in a meeting. But in the heart of Mexico’s Bajío region, someone actually thought outside the box, and the result is an innovative, collaborative and successful… business venture.
Rancho La Colorada is a humble farming village just outside the small city of Dolores Hidalgo in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato. Long sustained on subsistence agriculture, the hamlet was hard hit by drought through the early 2000s, and as in many areas of northern Mexico, most of the able-bodied men departed in search of work in other parts of the country or north of the border. But in 2005, representatives of a U.S.-based non-profit called St. Anthony’s Alliance visited La Colorada and came up with the idea of sowing lavender at the location as a complement to the traditional crops of corn, beans and peppers, which brought in little income. Lavender was chosen for its hardy resistance to pests, drought and grazing animals, and for its numerous uses in ornamental, cosmetic and medicinal products. A core group of farmers agreed to participate in the program, and with assistance from St. Anthony’s Alliance and other support, one of the community members was sent to the United States to study lavender production.
The Lavender Project, as it is called, really began to gather steam once Aucencio Domenzain, the farmer who studied lavender production, returned to La Colorada full of enthusiasm and newly acquired knowledge. Mr. Domenzain prepared a manual in Spanish for training his co-workers, St. Anthony’s Alliance helped the group to purchase irrigation equipment and lavender cuttings, and the North Guanajuato Technological University (UTNG) Business Incubator program provided assistance in preparing a business plan and forming a company. By late 2007, they had launched the new venture, called Azul Lavanda, and harvested their first crop of lavender flowers.
Since the Lavender Project set their first plants in the ground, the area under lavender cultivation has expanded to nearly 10 acres. Azul Lavanda is producing lavender-based products including soaps, sachet bags, essential oil, neck pillows and decorative crafts, which are currently being sold in the nearby tourist city of San Miguel de Allende, as well as in states such as Nayarit, Morelos, Queretaro and Quintana Roo. The Lavender Project provides employment to eight community members in agricultural operations, seven local women in the sewing of the sachet bags and five women in the manufacture of the soaps, in addition to three administrative staff and a driver.
Mr. Domenzain, who serves as President of Azul Lavanda, estimates that 21 local families have benefited directly from the jobs created by the project. But the impact of the Lavender Project on Rancho La Colorada is not limited to the number of jobs created. The project and support from St. Anthony’s Alliance has also given rise to a Community Center that has become the auspice for programs to improve education, health, nutrition and transportation in the community. Mr. Domenzain reports that 26 local children are now receiving scholarships to support their schooling.
The Lavender Project has accomplished much in the short time since the idea was first hatched. But the program’s leaders and participants are keen to build on what they have learned and accomplished so far to expand the project’s impact. Mr. Domenzain and his staff are currently testing the distillation of essential oil from Rosemary with an eye toward adding this product to the Azul Lavanda line. The success of the lavender scented soaps has also led them to consider expanding the soap line with the scents of additional locally sourced products such as lime, mint, chocolate and cinnamon.
The highly positive market response to Azul Lavanda’s initial product line is already raising the bar for quality control and product development. This has led Mr. Domenzain to enlist the help of a strategic ally: Dr. Analore Chauvin of the National Genomics Laboratory for Biodiversity (Langebio) in Irapuato, Guanajuato. Dr. Chauvin, an organic and analytical chemist specialized in plant metabolomics, designed a project to analyze the lavender oils being produced at Rancho La Colorada to identify their bioactive compositions. These characteristics are used to determine the quality level of the oils and their suitability for commercial uses such as aromas, cosmetics, high end perfumery or alternative medicine. The laboratory research so far has shown that while Azul Lavanda’s lavender oil currently lacks the qualities necessary for lucrative perfumery, it does have the traits that make it valuable for medicinal and commercial anti-bacterial applications. Once the research is published, it may be the key to new product areas that will keep the Lavender Project going strong into the future.
Mexico’s Men’s Olympic Soccer team defeated Japan 3-1 to advance to their first ever appearance in an Olympic soccer final. Mexico’s well-rounded side, headed by an intimidating offense, proved to be too much for the Japanese side this afternoon in London. …
Yuki Otsu helped Japan get on the scoreboard first with a goal in the 12th minute thanks to a powerful shot from the top of the box. Later in the first half, Marco Fabian evened the score by converting on a header from a Mexico corner in the 31st minute.
In the second half, Oribe Peralta capitalized on a defensive error from Japan to net in Mexico’s second goal in the 65th minute. A back and forth fight ensued between the two sides until substitute Javier Cortes secured his team’s victory with a composed finish in stoppage time.
After earning a spot in the final match, Mexico will face Brazil for the Gold medal. For the first time in Olympic history, Mexico has a guaranteed medal in soccer. The popularity of the sport and love for the team makes El Tri’s successful campaign in London quite special for the people of Mexico.
The gold medal match will take place in Wembley Stadium on Saturday, August 11th, at 3:00 pm, where the team will look to make history.
Jose Lino Montes, one of Mexico’s top weightlifters placed sixth in the final classification of the -56 kg category in weightlifting. Despite not coming home with a medal, Montes fulfilled his lifelong dream of competing in the Olympics. In addition, he represented Mexico for the first time in almost 30 years in… the Olympic sport of weightlifting.
Montes’ road to where he is today was arduous, and he described his youth as a “sad story”. Born in Yucatan, he farmed crops and did everything he could along with his six brothers to make ends meet. Weightlifting proved to be a talent of his, and a way to a better life. Montes expressed that his constant effort towards the sport improved his lifestyle.
After his final competition in London, he exclaimed, “I'm really happy. I enjoyed this test and I gave everything, all of my heart. I have overcome my personal record and now I'm the best in Latin America. I am proud."
From someone who went from working so hard as a kid and “having no childhood”, to finishing close to the top three, Jose Lino Montes has a lot to be proud of.
Looking towards the future, he hopes to rebuild the way in which Mexico stands in the weightlifting world. Jose yearns to intertwine the sport more deeply into the roots and traditions of his country. By doing so, he believes the emergence of Mexico’s undiscovered talent in the sport would lead to improving results in international competition. The future looks bright for the nation’s weightlifting presence, and Montes can leave knowing he has made a big footprint at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Expectations were high for Mexico’s soccer team leading up to the 2012 Olympics Games, with most analysts predicting that they would bring home a medal. On Saturday they moved one step closer to achieving this by defeating a strong Senegalese team 4-2 in extra time of the quarterfinals. …
On Tuesday’s semifinal match, Mexico will face Japan in what analysts anticipate being a strong scoring performance for both teams. Mexico has scored 7 goals in the tournament, while Japan has scored 5, three of which came in their quarterfinal game against Egypt.
Historically, Japan’s best Olympic performance came in 1968 when they earned the bronze medal. For Mexico, this marks the first time they’ve made it past the quarterfinals stage. One of the keys to Mexico’s success has been their defense, which held South Korea, Gabon, and Switzerland to scoreless matches in the Group rounds. On offence, Mexico will rely heavily on Giovani dos Santos and Marco Fabian. Dos Santos has been the team’s offensive anchor with 3 goals and 3 assists, essentially taking part in all but one of Mexico’s goals. While Fabian was the team’s top goal scorer leading up to the Olympics with 14 goals in 17 appearances for the U23 national team.
Both countries are expected to play possession and passing soccer, but analysts expect Mexico’s better creative ability in the midfield should give them the edge to win the game.
Aida Roman takes home the Silver medal in Women’s Individual Archery, one of two medals that a Mexican athlete earned in the 2012 Olympic event. She proved to be unbeatable in early rounds, but was eventually defeated in a final tie-breaker shootout by a score of 6-5 to Korean powerhouse, Ki Bo Bae. …
The Silver medal adds to the Gold she earned in the 2011 Pan American Games, where she and several Mexican archers won the Team championship competition.
For Mexico, bringing an archer to the final of the Individual competition is a great accomplishment. It’s no surprise that Roman and her coach, Song I Woo, worked tirelessly to prepare for the Olympic Games.
Originally from Monterrey, Aida started shooting Archery at 9 years old and showed great potential. Roman played many sports, once being a member of UNAM's basketball team in addition to playing American football while attending high school. At this current moment, it seems like archery was the proper fit for this gifted athlete.
Mariana Avitia has added to Mexico’s medal count after winning Bronze in Women’s Individual Archery at the London 2012 Games. Avitia defeated Khatuna Lorig of the United States by a score of six to two to take third place. She had a long run in the competition until fellow Mexican, Aida Roman, defeated her and… advanced to the Gold medal round against Korean Ki Bo Bae.
At just 18, this is her second Olympic appearance, and her presence in both individual and team archery competitions have gained considerable attention. Ever since her Olympic debut in Archery, Avitia has stolen the hearts of many Mexican spectators.
Although Mexico’s Women Archery Team fell early to a talented Japanese side, Avitia was instrumental in qualifying them to the London Olympics. Her individual game is something that will only improve as she continues to train and work off this momentum from her 3rd place Individual finish. Mexico can be proud of the young Avitia for her efforts, and spectators should keep an eye out for her in the future.