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(La) Adelita

(LA) ADELITA

(lah ah-deh-LEE-tah) = Little Adela

Other Names

En lo alto - first line of many versions of the song

Background

During and after the 1910-1913 Mexican revolution against Porfirio Díaz, corridos (ballads) appeared, commemorating the role of the soldadera (woman soldier). Several of these corridos achieved lasting popularity: La Marieta, La Rielera, La Valentina, Juana Gallo, and La Adelita. Corridistas (musicians who traveled across Mexico) sold inexpensively printed corridos as hojas volantes (flying leaves, or, broadside ballads). The lyrics, engraved illustrations, and text of these broadsides served the function then that television serves today: indoctrinating the people to accept the huge devastation and death toll (up to a million Mexicans died). "La Adelita" tells of a brave soldadera (woman soldier) who remained faithful to her Sergeant lover. It occurs in countless variations, some anonymous.

Alura Flores [1905-2000] (see her biography in the 1993 Problem Solver) learned traditional pasos norteños (Northern Mexican dance steps) during her training as a physical educator. While working for the Lienzo Charro del Piedregal - a school of the Charro association that teaches dance, lasso-work, and horsemanship, Alura set these steps to the popular "Adelita" tune to teach 4-5 year-old children for a stage performance. She arranged a second stage variation for folk dancers in the U.S. in the early 1960s and presented it in San Antonio in 1972 through El Patronato and the Extension Courses of UNAM. Nelda Guerrero Drury learned Adelita from Alura and presented it at the 1974 University of the Pacific Folk Dance Camp at Stockton, California. Nelda presented later that year in Chicago a third variation with partners facing each other throughout. Alura presented the second variation at the Stockton camp in 1978, with the errata giving the third variation. Alura presented the third variation to folk dancers here in Austin in 1979, with two additional motifs. All variations are described here.

Costume

Rancheros, Traje Norteño, or the special Adelita costume.

Music

Peerless 45/3248-A, La Adelita.

FORMATION

Couples at random on the stage, partners about 1 ½ meters apart, woman to R of man. All face front. Woman holds her skirts comfortably out to sides and a bit forward. Man hooks his thumbs in his belt front or buckle. Dance light-heartedly and with spirit.

Audience or Front


M W M W M W

Alura says: M W M W
"Put your
worst dancers here!" → M W


BARS ACTION
2/4Introduction
1-10No action. Now don't let the "8 bars plus 2 bars" structure fool you into starting early!
  
 1. Remate (stamp) and push-step. Face front, but look at your partner. Or, face partner.
1-2Stamp in place with R foot, no weight (ct 1), dance 2 push-steps to R (cts 2,1), step to R onto R foot (ct 2).
 Push-step to R (1 per ct): step to R onto R foot while "pushing" to L with L foot (ct 1), step beside R foot onto L foot (ct 2). Hold skirt high on the R side. To dance push-step to L, use opposite footwork, handwork, and direction.
3-4= 1-2 with opposite footwork and direction (stamp, push, push, stamp to L).
5-16= 1-4, 4 times in all.
 2. Heel-toe and push-step Turn to face partner.
17Hopping on L foot, dance 1 heel-toe-cross step to R.
 Heel-toe-cross to R (1 step per bar): hop on L foot (upbeat of bar) and touch R heel out to R side (ct 1), hop on L foot (ct &) and touch R toe across and in front of L foot (cts 1,2). Turn head and shoulders to R. Turn head and shoulders to L when dancing heel-toe-variation to L. Hold skirts wide to sides on the "heel." Bring hands (holding skirts) toward each other on the "toe". Arms remain gently rounded. During any action that follows, return skirts to original position.
18Dance 1 push-step to R (ct 1), step to R onto R foot (ct 2).
19-20= 17-18 with opposite footwork and direction (heel-toe, push & step to L)
21-32= 17-20, 4 times in all.

Audience or Front

bars 17-18

MW



Audience or Front

bars 19-20

MW


    3. Heel-toe, jump, and turn. Turn toward partner to face front (or you may remain facing partner).
33Hopping on L foot, dance 1 heel-toe step.
 Heel-toe (1 per bar): hop on L foot (upbeat of bar), touch R heel forward (ct 1), hop on L foot (ct &), touch R toe straight back (ct 2). Also done hopping on R foot, touching L heel and toe.
34Jump in place onto both feet (ct 1)
35-36= 1-2 (again, heel-toe jump).
37-40 Hopping on L foot, dance 3 heel-toe steps, turning in place once to R (360° CW). End facing front, and jump in place onto both feet (ct 1 of bar 40).
41-48= 33-40 with opposite footwork and direction of turn (2 heel-toe jumps, 3 heel-toes CCW, and jump).
  
 4. Heel-toe-and-run step. Woman holds her skirts comfortably out to sides. Face front or face partner.
49Leaping onto and hopping on L foot, dance 1 heel-toe step.
50Run forward 3 steps onto: R foot, L foot, R foot (cts 1, &,2).
51-52= 49-50 with opposite footwork; dancing backward to place with the 3 running steps.
53-64= 49-52, 4 times in all.
  
 4 (optional). Heel-toe-cross steps, alternating. Alura added this motif to the dance in 1979. Face front or face partner.
49Hopping on L foot, dance 1 heel-toe-cross step.
50Leaping onto and hopping on R foot, dance 1 heel-toe-cross step with L foot.
51-64= 49-50, 8 times in all.

Audience or Front

 

MW

OR:

MW


      5. Taconazo. Face front or face partner.
65-80 Dance 16 taconazo steps in place, starting with a leap onto R foot. Woman dances 8 steps in place, travels forward with the next 4, and turns to face man (if necessary) with the last 4 steps.
 Taconazo (heel-strike) (1 per bar): leap in place onto R foot (ct 1), step beside R foot onto L heel (ct &), step in place onto R foot (ct 2), strike or scuff L heel in place, no weight (ct &). Weight stays predominately over R leg with R knee bent. Lean to R and raise L skirt somewhat. To repeat step, use opposite footwork and handwork.
  
 5 (optional). Atole. Alura added this optional motif to the dance in 1979. Face front or face partner.
65-80Dance 16 atole steps in place, starting with a leap onto R foot. Woman dances 8 steps in place, travels forward with the next 4, and turns CCW to face man (if necessary) with the last 4 steps.
 Atole (milk-drink) (1 per bar): step diagonally forward to R: onto R foot, behind and to R of R foot onto L foot, onto R foot (cts 1,&,2). Bend R shoulder slightly forward and down and sway to R. R hand with skirt moves forward; L hand stays back. To repeat step, use opposite footwork, skirtwork, and direction.
OR:Both dance in place.
  
 6. Squares. Twice! Facing partner:
81-88With the Heel-toe-and-run step of figure 4, (but replace the first leap with a hop and dance only forward during the 3 running steps), dance a CCW square around your partner. To begin, turn 1/8 to R (45° CW) to put L shoulder toward partner. Dance 4 heel-toe-and-run patterns, turning 1/4 to L (90° CCW) with the 3rd running step each time. 4 of these patterns make 1 square.
89-96= 81-88. End in original positions, but facing partner, to repeat the dance.

Audience or Front

MW


      7. through 12. = 2. through 6. Repeat the dance, omitting figure 1.
97-176= 17-96.
 NOTE: On stage, face front during figures 1, 3, 4, and 5, but face your partner during figures 7-12. This adds variety to the presentation and increased interest on the part of the audience. In a social or recreational setting, however, you should face your partner throughout the dance.
  
 Note also: you may substitute this alternate finale:
  
 12. Alternate finale.
173-174 Dance diagonally across own square with heel-toe-and-run pattern to resume side-by-side position, facing front. Start by leaping onto L foot.
175Hopping on R foot, dance 1 heel-toe step in place as man puts R arm around woman's waist. L hands are joined and woman's R hand holds skirt.
176Stamp onto: L foot, R foot (cts 1,2), and pose.

Audience or Front

bars 169-176

MW


End of (LA) ADELITA