La Ultima Parada 2016 – “La Viejada” San Jose’s Community Masked Tribute Dance
San Jose has been building its own Day of the Dead tradition for the past five years since La Ultima Parada went from an overflowing house-party into the San Jose Womens Club and finally to it’s new home at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. The larger spaces provided an opportunity for San Jose’s folklorico dance community to come together and celebrate Dia de Los Muertos in a meaningful and spiritual way.
“La Viejada” is the masked tribute dance which originates in La Huasteca Veracruzana, and which is danced over three days throughout the streets by hundreds of community members. During the dance, each danzante wears a mask representing a specific deceased person whom they wish to honor. This person could be a relative, friend or personal hero. In San Jose, we have seen the traditional characters of this dance represented: El Diablo dances with El Angel, La Novia con El Novio, Frida Kahlo with Diego Rivera; as well as, more modern couples, such as–Selena with Michael Jackson, JFK with Marilyn, etc. Cross-dressing abounds as young men honor their Abuelitas (complete with rosary and handbag) and young women transform into Pancho Villa and other historical characters. It’s all good.
The sonecitos that comprise La Viejada are well over 500 tunes and include bits of traditional sones, as well as, more current popular songs. In San Jose, our version includes five of these sones and an additional four sones that have been created especially for La Ultima Parada by local young composer, Luis Xavier Garcia. They are aptly named, “La Plaza,” “EastSide Llorona,” “Story & King,” and “La Pulga.” The dancers will be accompanied by Colibri: Son y Tradicion under the direction of LUP co-founder, Rick Moreno.
Over 200 masked danzantes will participate in a tribute dance “La Viejada” to honor our dearly departed. Participants will include San Jose folklorico dance companies: Flor de Mexico, Grupo Folklorico Los Laureles de Silicon Valley, Grupo Folklorico Yolotli Guerrerense, Xochitl Cultural de Abraham Lincoln HS, Grupo Folklórico Luna y Sol de San José State, San Jose Guerrero’s de Guadalupe, Ballet Folklorico Guadalupano de Saint Mary’s College of California, Rocketship Folklorico, Folklórico Herúvi Kalo de San Jose, Sacred Heart Community Service, Ensamble Folklorico Colibri & Los Mestizos de San Jose!
La Viejada will be presented twice during La Ultima Parada—at Noon after the Comparsa de Muertitos and again at 6:00pm following the lighting of the altars. Please join us in welcoming our muertitos into celebration.
La Ultima Parada is funded by grants from the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, The Castellano Family Foundation and our community–YOU!! Avoid the long lines and buy your ticket TODAY!