Inspired by the Yaqui Deer Dance


Photo by Alejandro Freeland




Choreographed and Performed by:
Norma Araiza
Percussion rhythms by: Jorge Araiza
Costume inspired by the traditional
Yaqui regalia by Norma Araiza
Duration: 15 minutes




This dance theatre piece is inspired by the traditions of the Yoemem of Sonora (Yaqui Nation), in Mexico. It depicts the self-sacrifice ritual of the Deer to become one with the Yoemem and to help them to survive.

In the traditional Deer Dance of the Yaqui Nation, the Deer dancer performs with his musicians and in conjunction with the Pascolas, who also have their own musicians, in the annual Easter Celebrations of the Yoemem. These celebrations are a fusion of Yaqui ancient traditions and the influence of the Catholic rituals of Easter.

Only men can perform this dance ritual. That is why, inspired by my learning experience in Sonora, I created my own deer dance that allows me to honour our brother the Deer, but from a contemporary and female perspective.

All the props used in this dance ritual are the real elements used in the original dance: the deer head piece, the rattles, the ankle bells, the rebozo (shawl used as a dress), and the percussion instruments.