La Chilena and the Dancing Bull

by Lindajoy Fenley

April 9, 2011

Most tourists in Mexico never go south of Acapulco, but that’s the beginning of the Costa Chica, a little-traveled region I had long dreamt of exploring. Last December, I finally went, spending two weeks searching for musical traditions unique to the region along the Pacific Coast of Guerrero and Oaxaca states.

At the end of my first-ever sojourn into the region, I regretted not seeing the flirtatious chilena dance more than once. I had been too shy to take out my camera the first day of my trip when I had happened upon a small roadside celebration where women danced the chilena. I thought I’d see the dance again, but hadn’t. As I left the region, I stopped in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero, to see a pre-Christmas parade of music and dance each year that attracts musicians and dancers from throughout the state.

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