Local Aztec Dancers celebrate 10 years with Jensen Grove performance

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Aztec Dancers perform in Jensen Grove | Leslie Sieger, EastIdahoNews.com

BLACKFOOT – The Aztec Dancers in Blackfoot performed Saturday, at Jensen Grove, to celebrate 10 years of dancing together.

The group “Dance Azteca Quetzalcoatl,” has been performing at various Catholic Churches and other festivities for the past ten years, however they perform at other festivities as well. In August 2016 they performed at the Kermes, a festival St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Blackfoot sponsors annually.

The group was started for the purpose of celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe (the Virgin Mary). That celebration takes place on Dec. 12.

“The tradition in Mexico is to celebrate with dance,” said Pilar Ramirez, one of the original founders of the group. “There wasn’t much diversity in Blackfoot at the time. We wanted something so we could celebrate, that was our main purpose.”

Ramirez has been folklore dancing since she was 13.

Jacob Gonzalez the leader of Dance Azteca Quetzalcoatl | Leslie Sieger, EastIdahoNews.com

Before the dance begins the group forms a circle to pray. Each dancer is brushed with the smoke from incense.

“The incense cleanses,” said Rocio Perez another of the founders of the group. “The incense is used to elevate the prayers to the heavens. The feathers are also to elevate prayers.”

Perez also explained the dance is also a form of prayer.

The newest dancer Jose Herrera began dancing with the group earlier this year.

“It started as a hobby,” Herrera said. “Now it has become a part of me. I seen them dancing and thought it looked easy, till I went to one of the practices and found it was harder than it looked.”

Over the past 10 years the dancers have performed throughout southern Idaho and northern Utah.

Pilar Ramirez blows the conch shell | Leslie Sieger, EastIdahoNews.com

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