Mural Imagery and Narrative
Dance of the Matachines depicts an ancient dance that has been performed in the Americas for many centuries; it has roots in Mesoamerica, Europe, and North Africa. Up until the mid-twentieth century, matachines danced all over New Mexico on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12) or on the feast day of a town’s patron saint. This dance is still alive today in many New Mexico communities. It continues to incorporate diverse cultural influences in creative ways. This is a tradition that remains strong.
Dancers from seven different communities are represented in the mural. Beginning at the left end of the mosaic (to the left of the doors) are two dancers from Jemez Pueblo. On the right side of the doors one can see two dancers from Bernalillo: a young female dancer, known as la Malinche; and an adult dancer accompanying her. Further to the right are dancers from Tijeras, Cochiti, Alcalde, Tarahumara, and Tortugas. The last dancer on the right is a Toro, or bull, traditionally danced by a young boy.
Vanessa Alvarado & Stephen J. Calvin Jr.
Margarita Paz-Pedro & Cassandra Reid
NM Youth Conservation Corps & City of Albuquerque Public Art Program