BWW Interview: Javier Dzul of DZUL DANCE: THE LAST MAYAN KING at Bickford Theater At The Morris Museum
I had the chance to ask Javier Dzul some questions about the world premier of his newest piece Dzul Dance: The Last Mayan King at the Bickford Theater September 20-21. Javier has one of the most impressive and exotic resumes in modern dance. He grew up in the jungles of southern Mexico performing Mayan ritual dance until the age of 16 when he became the last king of his Mayan tribe. He then left his home, becoming a principal dancer with Ballet Nacional de Mexico and Ballet Folklorico de Mexico before he went to Ballet Nacional de Cuba.
Hi Javier, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! Let's dive right in.
Tell our readers a little bit about your personal background.
I was born in Edzna Campeche. I am Mayan and I grow up in a family with very ancient Mayan traditions. At the age of 16 I left the jungle to understand modern civilization and find the way Mayan culture will survive and stay present. Dance was my opportunity to see this world and experienced it. I was very fortunate to be surrounded by the greatest figures in the Mexican and American dance culture. I danced for Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, Ballet Nacional, Martha Graham Dance company, Pearl Lang Dance Theater, Alvin Ailey and many more important companies at that time. Then after this wonderful experience I found circus arts and decided to create my own vision of the world. I am a ritual dancer, a ballet dancer, a modern dancer, a circus performer and a choreographer. And Dzul Dance represents my vision and my culture.
When did you know that dance would be your path?
I grow up playing with the power that comes from the use of the energies that our body creates. The Mayan Kings use their body to travel the levels we believe exist in this world, life and death are the playground of physical transformation and as a ritual dancer I learned to travel, and transform in my animal spirit protector. I believe we are in this time living the experience of the body and the material. I guess I knew dance was my path since I have a deep understanding of myself.
How has your ballet training informed your style of dance? Would you say its derivative of purely ballet?
Ballet is the universal language for dance. It brings together purity and beauty. I believe that everything has being done before, nothing is new, we all move in every possible way and we are just a channel of what the world needs at that moment, and ballet is the wire that connects all of us somewhere, somehow.
Your Mayan background is fascinating. Tell the readers who may not know how that has been infused with your style of dance.
I grew up trying to find my connection with the universe. That, took me to be able to live and move as an animal to find my own power as a living being. I lived many experiences understanding the power of the physical body as a human and as an animal. My style of dance is the raw combination of the ritual dancer, the ballet dancer, the modern dancer and the acrobat.
What should we know about the show before sitting in our seats?
I want everyone that seat to experience this creation to allow their selves to see my world and don't expect to understand with their brains, to live it and process it with their senses.
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