Kalpulli Ketzal Coatlicue, a dance troupe from south Minneapolis that specializes in Aztec dance. Tuesday, a small contingent from the troupe performed a set that took its inspiration from natural elements, wrapping up with the "Dance of Fire."Caponi Art Park ended its summer performance series on a high-spirited note with
Susana De Leon, leader of the troupe, said that the art form began to see a resurgence in the 1940s after hundreds of years of suppression by the Catholic Church, which put strict limits on the expression of indigenous culture after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Native dances survived on the sly, though the church would allow some dance to continue, but only in in conjunction with an officially sanctioned religious activity.
"From what we know, the drums were prohibited so they began dancing with a little guitar and replicating the drum beats on the guitar. For many years they could only dance with church permission, but they passed it onto their sons," De Leon said. "I learned from a dancer, who learned it from older dancers."