Hummingbird on the Left 2013


This solo was presented for the Central Valley Dance Festival in Fresno, Ca. 11/09/13.
Danced and Choreographed by Liz Boubion
Music by Liz Boubion and Afia Walking Tree
Costume Liz Boubion and Afia Walking Tree

The Piñata holds ancient and contemporary implications of celebration, loss and regeneration for Latina/o culture and the world at large. Originally, before it was the paper mache sculpture filled with candy that children smash open with a blindfold and stick, the Piñata was birthed in China as a New Years celebration. During his travels, Marco Polo gathered it up for Italy where it was appropriated to Catholicism representing 7 deadly sins. From Italy it swung to the Spaniards who colonized Mexico. The Aztecs had their own, similar ritual during the winter solstice that included the breaking open of a clay pot filled with water as a prayer for the return of the Sun God, “Huitzilopochtli” (“Hummingbird on the Left”). In essence, it was a prayer for sustainability which is relevant for our precarious world today. Now, Piñata is used for many occasions including Las Posadas and birthday parties which personalizes the game, singing “no pierdas el tino, porque si lo pierdes, pierdes el camino…”(don’t loose your aim, if you loose it, you loose your way”).

As a choreographer, Piñata has a changing score. It is a symbol of impermanence and the temporary nature of Dance. “Piñata” deconstructed, has been performed in several venues as a multi-media stage piece, an outdoor ritual, a gallery installation, or a public workshop that includes an interactive performance with the audience. As performers, we embody the physical and emotional imagery of Piñata and work symbolically with what is inside shaping our movement and sound. The mythology changes with each performer and each setting. This solo is a short piece of a larger piñata that is being developed. It is a contemporary embodiment of Huitzilopochtli “Hummingbird on the Left”. It is also work in progress with both choreography and improvisation.