Over 1000 years ago, indigenous people from Aztlan (Place of Herons) migrated south to central Mexico in search of their Tonalli or destiny, as foretold by their leader Huitzilopochtli. The Aztec people, who re-named themselves Mexica, adopted much of the culture of the Tolteca, a pre-existing Meso-American culture.
The Mexica prospered and developed to the extent that, at the time of the arrival of Columbus in the “new world”, Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) was the heart of a vast civilization.
The Mexica people were renowned for their abilities as warriors, merchants, artists, and musician/dancers. The dances performed by the Mexica varied in content and style. Today, three basic forms of Aztec dance are still performed; Ceremonial Rituals, not usually accessible to the public; Concheros, a slow rhythmic dance performed to the music of armadillo shell guitars; and Warrior Style dances, which are intensely physical and colorful. Dances are performed by both female and male dancers. The dance steps used are traditional, passed from parent to child. Each dance represents an aspect of the universe as perceived from an indigenous, Meso-American, viewpoint. Dancers are accompanied by a large drum (Huehuetl), a two-tongued small wooden drum (Teponaztli), gourd rattles (Ayacaxtli), and various flutes and whistles (Tlapitzalli).
Kalpulli Ehecatl is a warrior style dance and musical group based out of Albuquerque New Mexico. Founded by Mapitzmitl Xiukwetzpaltzin (PAZ) in 1986 following the death of mentor Florencio Yescas. Ehecatl has two components; Ehecatl Aztec Dancers, the dance and musical component of the Kalpulli, who participate in ceremonial Mexica/Chichimeca dance and also perform their music and dance worldwide. Public performances are a mixture of music, dance and storytelling and are presented in a tri-lingual format of Nahuatl or Aztec, Spanish and English. Ehecatl Aztec Dancers have presented at such prestigious venues as The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, The Smithsonian Institute, The Heard Museum, and numerous institutions, universities and schools throughout the USA. They have performed in Europe, the Philippine Islands, Canada, and Mexico.
The second component of Kalpulli Ehecatl consists of a series of cultural awareness workshops and lectures offered by Mapitzmitl Xiukwetzpaltzin (PAZ). These tekios or workshops have been presented worldwide since 1996. The mission of Kalpulli Ehecatl is to entertain while educating the public as to who Mexicans (Americans) are as Native American people who maintain a living/evolving tradition.