New Mexico Arts presented the first-ever gathering of Matachines groups of the Southwest at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The Matachines is the only ritual dance performed in the Southwest by both Native American and Hispanic communities, the gathering explored the origins and beauty of the dance. Many performing groups had never seen each other’s versions of the dance, so it was a unique opportunity for all involved. There were panel discussions with scholar on its origins and meanings and the significance of the characters common to the dance, (the Monarca, Abuelo, Malinche, Toro, and danzantes), as well as the music that accompanies it.

This unique event was free and open to the public. However the dance is considered sacred by many of the dancers who perform it and the public were asked to be respectful. Several of the groups requested that there be no photography or recording of the dances. Some of the groups allowed photographs which provided unique documentation of often never before photographed dances.

For more information and a downloadable program booklet of essays about Matachines, visit the website at