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Norma Writes for Selvedge Magazine Issues #89 + #109
Creating Connection and Meaning between travelers and with indigenous artisans. Meet makers where they live and work. Join small groups of like-minded explorers. Go deep into remote villages. Gain insights. Support cultural heritage and sustainable traditions ie. hand weaving and natural dyeing. Create value and memories. Enjoy hands-on experiences. Make a difference.
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with makers about how and why they create, what is meaningful to them in their designs, the ancient history of patterning and design, use of color, tradition and innovation, values and cultural continuity, and the social context within which they work. First and foremost, we are educators. Norma worked in top US universities for over 35 years and Eric founded the education department at Oaxaca’s textile museum. We create connection and help artisans reach people who value them and their work.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
We Contribute Two Chapters!
Meet Makers. Make a DifferenceOaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university, textile and artisan development experience. See About Us.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your independent travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, curators, universities and others come to us to develop artisan relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *Abeja Boutique, Houston *Selvedge Magazine-London, UK *Esprit Travel and Tours *Penland School of Crafts *North Carolina State University *WARP Weave a Real Peace *Methodist University *MINNA-Goods *Smockingbird Kids *MINNA *University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tell us how we can put a program together for you! Send an email email@example.com
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Dancing on the Street: Guelaguetza Time in Oaxaca
On the last two Mondays in July the big, folkloric Guelaguetza commercial dance extravaganza takes place “under the big top” in the outdoor auditorium atop El Fortin hill. It’s white awning can be seen from every location in the valley. Performances are scheduled twice a day and tickets cost about $56 USD each, sold online and in the city by Ticketmaster. Guelaguetza is a big tourist attraction and many depend upon the event for their livelihood.
For two weeks before the performance there is merrymaking on the streets of colonial Oaxaca.
Guelaguetza is a Zapotec social and religious term that refers to the practice of mutual support and exchange. The giving and receiving of gifts to honor relationships is essential to survival and continuity. The sharing of mezcal, bread, chocolate and tortillas is symbolized through the stylized dance of the commercial Guelaguetza performance. Yet, it is part of everyday practice in the villages throughout Oaxaca.
The young man above pours mezcal into a traditional cup made of bamboo and gives it to someone in the crowd. It means welcome, acceptance, and sharing.
Fireworks and sound missiles are part of every celebration, as is the band that notifies all that the parade is near.
Some locals protest the commercialization of the village traditions and the high cost for the average local person to attend the performance. Throughout the neighborhoods there are alternative dances and parades. Ask around. Maybe you can catch some dancing on the street without having to spend a huge amount of money.
Nevertheless, the Guelaguetza performance as presented under the big top is also a great experience to see all the traditional trajes (dress) of the many Oaxacan villages. It is one other way to appreciate the culture, hard work and handmade artistry of the region.
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Oaxaca Mexico art and culture, Travel & Tourism
Tagged blogsherpa, guelaguetz, Mexico, Oaxaca