Los paños or "Handkerchiefs"

Opening positions: Monarca and malinche begin in back. Before the music starts, each pair of danzantes prepares by grasping the two ends of a scarf between them. They are facing forward.

Opening sequence: Rather than the standard sequence, there are only the turns: turn out, turn in, each pair going under the scarf they share.

Dance Pattern:


Section 1: The lead couple backs up, holding their scarf aloft. The other couples pass under this scarf-bridge. Once under the bridge, each pair then lifts its shared scarf to become a new bridge that moves backwards over the heads of the other dancers. Thus, the one bridge made by the first couple becomes multiple bridges as each succeeding couple passes forward beneath the first couple’s arch and backs up, lifting their handkerchief-arch over the heads of the next pairs passing through (Figure 24).

The monarca and malinche are the last to pass under the bridge. They thus end at the front between the lines of dancers.


Section 2: After a few bars of music in which the dancers do the basic step in place, each couple still sharing a scarf, the abuelo again calls for turns. Then the monarca and malinche make a tour around the lines, beginning with the left one. Passing each dancer, they circle each other in one full turn (Figure 25). The abuelo calls for turns when the monarca and malinche reach the back of the left line, and again when they have completed their return outside the right line.

Section 3: The danzantes kneel or squat, each pair still holding the scarf between them. Monarca and malinche repeat their circling tour starting this time with the right line. The danzantes stand briefly for the hueltas, once when monarca and malinche reach the end of the right line, again when they have returned up front.

Section 4: The men kneel again after the turns and lay their scarves, still held between each pair of dancers, on the ground. The monarca and malinche dance up the center between the two lines, stepping over the scarves. Between each scarf, monarca and malinche, individually, turn, both ways.

Closing Sequence: When monarca and malinche have stepped over all the scarves and are at the back of the lines, the danzantes put away their scarves and stand for hueltas. In a pedestrian walk, they cast out and file to the back where they pick up the monarca and malinche. All dance forward together. The standard closing sequence then begins.

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