La trensa or "The Braid"

Note: This is a Maypole dance that uses only twelve danzantes plus two malinches. Unlike the other dances, la trensa is rarely practiced at ensayes, and then usually not until the last rehearsals. It is not done indoors at the velorio, but only outside in front of the church on the 12th.

Opening positions: The monarca stands in the center holding up a pole about twelve feet long to which are attached twelve colored and two white ribbons. The dancers make a circle around the monarca and pole, holding the end of a colored ribbon. The two malinches, opposite each other, hold the white ribbons.

Opening sequence: The abuelo calls for turns, one left, then one right.

Dance pattern: Using the basic step, the two malinches exchange places across the circle, passing to the right of each other. Then the two dancers who stand to the left of the malinches exchange places. Then the two dancers who stand to the right of the malinches exchange places. Two dancers at a time continue to exchange places in the pattern shown in (Figure 30) until the malinches exchange again. The maypole is wound with ribbon by the dancers’ exchanges.

When the dancers have completed eight rounds of exchange, and there are about three inches of ribbon wound around the top of the pole, the malinches dance through one final crossover.

The abuelo calls for turns, and the dancers then start unwinding the ribbon by reversing the order of the exchanges, this time passing to the left of each other. The malinches again go first, but now the dancers to their right go second, the dancers to their left third, and so on until the ribbon is unwound.

Closing sequence: In pedestrian movement, the dancers break out of their circle and line up in the usual two-line formations with the two malinches between and at the rear of the lines. The two dance lines now cast off and proceed with the standard closing sequence.

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