The dance of the Calabaceado

Honesty in Joy


The dance of the Calabaceado is a regional dance from the north of the country, specifically from the state of Baja California. Its origin goes back to the decade of 1940, when little by little cattle activities began to be part of the amusements among the cowboys; the jockeys, the lasso and the horse races were some of the most popular. Later the cowboys would imitate these manifestations in their dances.

Specifically, it is a mixture of norteño music, cowboy dancing, dance of change of couple and imitations of some activities or thanks of the cattle, as the jumps, turns and kicks.

The rhythm of the zigzag dance comes from the Huasteca area and belongs to the huapango genre. When interpreted by the northern group, they name it huapango norteño, also known as calabaceado dance, "huarachazo" or "taconeado", depending on the region or the place where it is performed.

During the dance, the change of couple is constant and there are no moments of rest for the dancers, for these reasons, it is considered a tradition that requires a lot of resistance and skill.

There are several theories about the origin of the name: in the northern region, the term "calabaceado" is a synonym for affair, as it is popularly said, "to give pumpkins". It is also said that this term was used by spectators when they saw the dance as "jumping like goats (cabras)" and that they were "calabriando", a word that was transformed until it was called "calabaceado".

As in many dances, there is a favorite costumes for dancers: men wear denim trousers, checkered denim shirt, cowboy boots, leather vest, leather belt with a large buckle and a handkerchief around the neck. While women repeat many of the elements, but dress skirt, blouse and the handkerchief is worn in the hair.

Some of the most prominent steps are the heel, the double strike of the floor; the dotted step back, also called "of kick" and the step of whirlpool, being the latter one of the favorites of many spectators and dancers.

As a curious fact, who lasts longer in the swirling step, which consists of turning the foot backwards in a circular way, turning to the right or to the left, is the one who receives the highest ovations.

It is an energetic dance, full of tradition and with a strong historical load, but also of joy and much joy, something that has always been associated with the northern zone of Mexico.

¿Qué Saber?

What to know?

  • The Dance of the Calabaceado is a recent phenomenon, and its origin only dates back to the 1950s.
  • Even though there are various theories concerning its origin, it’s thought that its originated in the village of La Misión, in the municipality of Ensenada in the northeast zone of the frontier between Mexico and the United States and between the states of Sonora and Baja California.
  • It’s a derivation of the "norteña" music that became popular in the decade of the 50s.
  • At the time of its origin, the calabaceado was considered a dance of resistance.
  • The dance group Kicukpaico from Tijuana has been an intent observer of these dancing traditions and they have dedicated themselves not only to dancing but to keeping the tradition alive.
  • Even though the name "calabaceado" alludes to cheating or "stepping out" on someone, it has the idea that comes with another root as well: "calabriado" which is the mixing of red and white wines and "cabriola" which can mean antics or prancing and skipping.
  • There are various basic steps in this dance: the "taconeado" (stomping hard with the heel)
  • Stamping with the sole of the boot, hard and fast, and alternating the feet.
  • The punteado, which imitates the kicking of some animals when they raise dust.
  • Finally the "remolino" or whirl, which is the most liked, is done with the dancers spinning in a circular pattern going backwards.
  • It’s common that this dance is presented during school festivals and always in the local fairs in all the northern towns and cities.
  • The town of La Misión, where the calabaceado dance originated, was originally inhabited by the K’mial ethnic group. The word "K’mial means "people from the coast".
  • Today, this site is known as Poblado and Ejido La Misión.
  • One of the musical groups that can be considered precursors of this genre is Los Montañeses del Álamo.
The Dance of the Calabaceado

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El Baile calabaceado

All you must know about this Folkloric Dance of Baja California is here


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