Aztec dance is a way to preserve ancient culture. It is said that represents the eternal search of men and women for cosmic harmony and integration of body and spirit. The term Aztec means ‘man of Aztlan’, the place where the Mexica came from, but was not commonly used until the 18th and 19th century when historians adopted it. The Aztec people called themselves Mexica after the migration and this was how they came to be known to the Spaniards, hence the name Mexico.
Aztec Dancers are devoted to preserve the traditions and rituals of pre-Hispanic culture through the expression of dance and ceremony. There are many groups around the city of Los Angeles that continue to preserve these traditions and rituals, so it is the case of artistic director Aida Landeros, founder of the pre-Hispanic Aztec dance group, Ollin Ixtli. Born in Mexico City, Aida came to Los Angeles in 1995 to study English and to pursue her career as a dancer. Landeros, started her training as a belly dancer with world known performers and choreographers; Tonya, Ansuya and Tahiya. As a solo artist, Aida performed at different restaurants, parties, and other venues, such as; The Calavera Fashion Show in Echo Park, The Kaledoiscope World Dance at USC and was featured on the Documentary Venice Drum Circle.
In 2002 Aida Landeros discovered her passion for Aztec dance and fell in love with the discipline and the dream began. “My goal was to create a group of strong dancers who could bring the spirit of Aztec Dance in an elegant, beautiful and modern way” and, in 2011 Aida decided to create the Aztec dance group, Ollin Ixtli. Ollin Ixtli means face movement in Nahuatl, a language still used by the indigenous people in central México. It is an analogy to our inner face/spirit. Ollin Ixtli is a contemporary Aztec dance group that blends traditional steps with choreography offering a unique flavor to their audience. They are also known as The New Ancient~Ollin Ixtli. Since its creation the group has made several appearances in television shows and performed at different venues.
Gypset Magazine had the opportunity to visit the studio where Aida and her group Ollin Ixtli rehearse every Thursday from 7:30 -930 P.M. We were warmly greeted and made welcome by the instructor and group; without hesitation we were provided a pair of seed-leggins or chachayotls which made it a very special experience, besides it being a great workout it is a great way to learn more about the ancient dance. We were able to experience the great energy that this discipline transmits; per Aida this expression of art is inspired by Aztec dance, and it is done in a very unique, dynamic, and innovative way as it mixes various dances, including but not limited to modern dance and yoga, their technique consists of isolated steps very similar to a military routine with really strong roots of Aztec dance. Aida Landeros’s mission through Ollin Ixtli is to expand the movement and take it to another level.
In an effort to do the same, the group is currently rehearsing and preparing to travel to Shanghai to participate in a tourism festival in September 2015. Ollin Ixtli’s doors are open to new members who would like to learn more about this new discipline. Classes are imparted every Thursday from 7:30-9:30 pm at 1714 21st Street, Santa Monica, CA, for more information visit www.ollinthenewancient.com or check out their Facebook page at: https://m.facebook.com/ollinixtli