Aztec Dance in Philadelphia
Meaning “School of Blood Moving in the Heart” in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs, Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac is a dance and cultural troupe based in the heart of South Philadelphia. A visually captivating portrait of the group told through their own voices, Aztec Dance in Philadelphia raises questions about indigenous history and the retention of cultural heritage in the context of modern immigration. “We consider it a school because we are learning about the culture we have lost,” says one of the group’s members. The dancers of Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac bring their audiences a pre-Columbian heritage with roots in central Mexico. Kept alive by modern keepers of the culture like those in this trilingual Spanish/English/Nahuatl documentary, Aztec dance has followed the paths of contemporary Mexican immigrants into the United States. That migration has brought Aztec culture here, to Philadelphia. Aztec Dance in Philadelphia is an engaging resource for educators teaching modern immigration and a colorful testament to the resilience of indigenous cultures.