Latino Culture (4/4/24)

Danza Virgen del Perpetuo Socorro


West Liberty, Iowa has a new dance group that is taking shape and resonating with the power and rhythm of the drum. Its indigenous Mexican roots are reflected in the sound of the gourd that simulates the sound of a rattlesnake.

You can see the handmade Mexican huaraches while they dance in advanced steps. This new group is called "Danza Virgen del Perpetuo Socorro", a dance that carries in its essence the devotion and cultural heritage of its members.

This indigenous dance group began in West Liberty as an extension of a vivid tradition that dates back to Mexico. The founders of the dance are not new to this.

When asked about the origin of this dance, one of the group leaders shared: "In our town of Ignacio Allende, Durango, Mexico, being in a danza is something that has existed generation after generation. Members like Javier and Vicente have inherited this from their ancestors since their relatives were dancers or drummers".

The connection with their roots is essential for the members of this group. Despite being far from their place of origin, dance has become a powerful way to honor and remember those who are no longer with them.

"This is important to us because it is something that comes from our ancestors, parents, uncles, grandparents who are no longer here. It is a nice way to remember them and to honor the values and traditions that they instilled in us," said another member of the group.

Being in this danza is more than just a cultural expression; It is a manifestation of faith, devotion and love for their culture. When asked why they dance, the answer was clear: "We dance out of faith, out of devotion and out of love for our culture."

This passion is reflected in each step, in each drumbeat and in each movement of the dancers. The dance group is new, but they already danced at the Feast of St Joseph a few weeks ago and recently they danced for a feast that was made at someone’s house honoring the Holy Infant of Atocha.

The group is made up of people of different ages and levels of experience, but despite that, all members are welcome and no one is more than the other.

"Some members have been dancing for many years, others only a year or a couple of years and some even have months and even weeks, but we are happy that they are all here as part of this group and they are all important," explained the group's monarch Judith Lopez.

The monarchs are the dancing leaders who direct the steps of the dance and indicate the rhythm that they will need from the drummer. That responsibility is huge, but they have taken it with great honor and they do it with their hearts.

Dancer Judith states that what she loves most about being in dance is the spirit of camaraderie. They all help each other learn the steps, get the materials for the dance group, and they see each other as family.

Recently, they had a gathering to celebrate Easter and on the day of the Feast of Saint Joseph everyone cooperated to bring a dish to share for the potluck. Likewise, something that brings her great joy about being involved in la danza  is seeing the number of young people who are in dance and how their parents support them.

The little ones have a special place in the dance and have taken leadership to direct the steps. The last choreographed dance when they close is the children's. They are the last ones to come out dancing.

"The youngest person is 6 years old, and this is her first-time dancing, but she is happy and so are we to have her in our group. We older people continue in this because we have fond childhood memories of dancing and now we have to teach the new generation of dancers," Judith shared enthusiastically.

The West Liberty community is invited to join this dance group. Anyone interested in being part of the Danza de la Virgen del Perpetuo Socorro or interested in supporting them can contact Javier 319-936-7800 or Vicente 319-800-4407 for more information.

"Everyone is welcome to the dance group and any donation is good for us. You do not need experience dancing, you will quickly learn the steps," said a member of the group.

In short, the Danza de la Virgen del Perpetuo Socorro is more than a dance group; It is a group united by passion, faith and the desire to keep an ancient tradition alive. With their presence in West Liberty, they are sharing with the community the richness of their culture through the art of dance.

They themselves want you to know, "We are at your service for any event you have and would like to invite us, it will be a pleasure for us to receive an invitation."

So, if you are looking for a unique and enriching cultural experience in West Liberty, do not hesitate to come to events where they will be present.

They are ready to dance with their hearts, devotion, and bring their culture to every possible corner. Without a doubt, West Liberty is fortunate to have this cultural gem in town.