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The History of Dance: Gael Cabrera Ocampo ’24 in Mexico City, Mexico

For this winter co-op, I was able to continue with a small but significant part of my life goals. I came to Mexico City—and traveled to other parts of Mexico—to work on a documentary discussing Mexica dances and their part in war.

This film will show just a part of the full scope of purposes that pre-Hispanic dances have. They are used to heal people, to exercise, to celebrate, to bless the land, to ask for permission to do certain things like engaging in war, etc. These dances can be found all over the central and southern parts of Mexico and were crucial to many cultures, such as the Mayans and Mixtecas.

This is a personal project for me and therefore I am in charge of how I spend my time, which has given me the opportunity of exploring and traveling whenever I need in order to learn more about my culture. On a usual day, I investigate where I can find information about these dances, whether that be in museums, with friends and family, or with inhabitants of central Mexico. Then, whenever I have time, I cut and edit the videos I have taken of dancers, seeing in what ways I can make it look more interesting for everyone.

A dancer in combat position

When I am done with my documentary in the spring, I plan to show it on campus and make it public on social media and YouTube so that everyone can enjoy seeing some fragments of my culture. This has been a really rich and liberating experience for me that will help me move towards my goal of making a career out of filming movies and series about my culture, history, and the arts. Though this was not the perfect co-op and was just the beginning of a long journey to fulfill my dream, all great things start from something so small and humble.

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Hello! My name is Sara Marsh and I am a second-year Antioch student who is currently serving as the editor for Antioch Engaged during the 2021-2022 school year. I am originally from Lexington, Kentucky and I am planning on pursuing a degree in psychology. Contact me at smarsh@antiochcollege.edu with any inquiries.

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