Danza Matachine Pavo Real began in 1975 as Danza San Lorenzo in Clint, Texas (in the valley east of El Paso). The group was comprised of neighborhood children and teenagers lead by brothers Sam and Vince Sanchez, who at the time were 14 and 13 years old, respectively. They were inspired by the matachines dance groups that would perform at the San Lorenzo parish church fiesta each August 10. To this day, the fiesta is by far the biggest event in Clint and the surrounding farm villages, drawing about 30,000 people over a weekend to the town with a population of 1,000.
Through the 70s and 80s, Danza Pavo Real (Royal Peacock) continued to gather between April and October, and again in December, to perform at various church bazaars. Danza Pavo Real is somewhat unique in that the group also has traveled regionally and performed at community and cultural events, such as the dedication of the El Paso History Museum and at the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The group has performed in conjunction with Tarahumara dancers of Northern Mexico and humbly accepted an invitation to dance at a special feast day in Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico, among many others. To this day, several dancers have involved their children and grandchildren to be a part of this dance group, which has carved a significant and relevant place for itself in US-Mexico border culture.
Danza Pavo Real is part of the “danza de carrizo” (bamboo) that is typical of the dance groups in Northern Mexico and in Mexico City during the celebrations of the Virgin de Guadalupe each December 12. Danza Pavo Real adheres to ancient dances and traditions. Its members also contribute to the evolution of the art form: new steps and dances are added through the years as they commemorate events or revered elders who have passed on to the other side.
To Danza Pavo Real, the dance is a form of prayer, worship and thanksgiving. The dances are dedicated to God, to loved ones and/or to each other. The dust or noise that rises from the huaraches (sandals), guajes (rattles) and carrizo carry up to heaven the unselfish desires of the dancers’ hearts.
We will dedicate our dances at Cama-i to the young people of the Southwestern Alaskan villages. May they fulfill their calling to enjoy the families, friends and earth God has given them; may they grow old and wise to teach the next generation of young ones to do the same.
We are grateful beyond words to share our culture and art, and we are equally looking forward to learn the the people we will meet.