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La Danza de los Viejitos brings humor, entertainment

by: contributed photo by CITY OF SANDY During the 2010 Fiesta en la Plaza, actors wearing masks and carrying canes portray La Danza de los Viejitos (dance of the old men) to share an aspect of Hispanic culture.

Amid a day of music, entertainment and food, those attending the Aug. 27 Fiesta en la Plaza will see a humorous dance based out of Michoacan, Mexico.

Creeorio and Antonio Santos of Gresham are among the 12 group members of San Bartolome that will perform La Danza de los Viejitos, or dance of the old men, at 4 p.m. the day of the event.

The two say they grew up learning the dance from their parents in Mexico and pass on the tradition to their children, though their San Bartolome group is predominantly made up of adult family members and friends.

Dancers, dressed in colorful campesino clothing and wooden shoes, masquerade as los viejitos, or old people, carrying canes and donning masks depicting older faces.

Initially they act old and hunched over, but gradually their dance transforms into lively movements, intended to express life's richness. Their wooden shoes and canes clink against the ground, adding to the humorous spectacle.

Creeorio Santos says the music of La Danza de los Viejitos is specialty music based out of Michoacan. The dance tradition, he says, is ancient and varies between regions in Mexico.

San Bartolome performs regularly in the Sandy-Gresham area. Creeorio and Antonio say it's their delight to perform, and they welcome everyone in Sandy to Fiesta en la Plaza.