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Dzul Dance Company

Dzul Dance fuses dance with aerial arts and contortion as a means to communicate indigenous pre-Hispanic, Mexican and Latino culture, creating bridges between contemporary art and historical heritage. By transforming bodies into earthbound and airborne forces, Dzul, breaks physical and cultural boundaries. This daring and unique company connects the ancient and the modern in order to illuminate the beauty inherent to the natural world and the human condition.
Artistic Director Javier Dzul and his culturally diverse company of performers toured the world, garnering rave reviews along the way that hail Dzul’s “acrobatic wizardry” (Attitude: The Dancer’s Magazine) and his ability to turn his dancers of “remarkable elasticity” into “creatures of the air as well as of the earth” (The New York Times).

Since his arrival in New York, Javier Dzul has danced with numerous companies, performing primarily with The Martha Graham Dance Company as well as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Company, Pearl Lang Dance Company, Battery Dance, and Acroback Inc. Before his professional dance career, Javier Dzul grew up in the jungles of southern Mexico performing Mayan ritual dance until the age of sixteen. Dzul’s formal dance training was at the Universidad de Veracruz, during which time he also became a principal dancer with Ballet Nacional de Mexico and Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. Javier later received scholarships to study at Ballet Nacional de Cuba and The Graham School of Contemporary Dance.

Javier formally established Dzul Dance in 2003 and became the founder of Compania de Danza Contemporanea y Aerea del Gobierno del Estado de Campeche, a second company funded by Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (CONACULTA) of Mexico and the Government of Campeche, in 2009. In 2009, the government of Yucatan named Javier el Premio de San Fransisco, an outstanding lifetime achievement award for raising international awareness about Mayan culture.

"Javier Dzul’s presentation [Forest of Kings] could not be more eye-catching. The dancer/aerialist/choreographer and head of Dzul Dance makes striking sculpture of his sinewy flesh with every movement on land or in the air. His every appearance in Forest of Kings is a regal, masterful study in how to stare down and command a stage or, really, life itself, by sheer personality and will.    And it is clear that he has inspired his young dancers to go for the gusto…” 
-Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Dance Bloggers

“Electrifying…Dzul’s compositions create tumultuous psychological echoes of a socio-cultural past and emotional maps of a possible human future.”    -Suzanne K. Walther, Magazine.Art

“Simply Spectacular…”  - Aharon Sosa Gonzalez, La i (Mexico)

Touring Programs

Program A: Mexico Maya

Tours with 10-12 dancers + lighting designer

This evening-length choreography is a journey through the rich histories of Mayan and Mexican cultures that bleeds into contemporary western traditions. The piece is separated into three sections by spoken word in Mayan, Spanish, and English.

The first section evokes the Mayan legend of the twin ball players and the creation of mankind. The twins had the power to play ball with the stars, moons, and the sun. The noise of their game woke the gods of Xibalba, and the twins were summoned to the underworld. The gods sacrificed the twins, and, from their blood, a forbidden tree was born. A Mayan princess eats the forbidden fruit of the tree and becomes pregnant with the first human being.

In the second section Javier explores his path from Maya to Mexico, Cuba and, finally, the United States, and how that path has affected his loved ones. This section also exposes the feelings associated with social and emotional isolation – the inner turmoil that comes with being in a foreign land.

The third section illustrates the experience of inspiration, artistic necessity and internal revolution to not only survive but to evolve. Javier looks to the future of his company and his artistic vision as an answer to the cultural need for a new beginning.

This piece was created in 2013 as a celebration of the ten year anniversary of Dzul Dance

“Lately I wonder about my life, my path, and the path that I created for my loved ones. Being Mayan is an honor, and living what I’ve lived is special.
In this choreography I try to represent the journey that makes me what I am in 2013… Sometimes I feel that even my Mayan life as a young man is so far away - that sensation and living in so many different cultures – I have the experience of not being part of any of them and all of them at the same time… Dzul dance is part of the human feelings, artistic freedom, and a culture in need of a new beginning.” – Javier Dzul

Program B: Forest of Kings
Tours with 10-12 dancers + lighting designer

A beautiful and unique journey based on Javier Dzul’s experiences as a young Maya growing up in the jungles of southern Mexico. The choreography illustrates Mayan rituals of transformation, cultural rites of passage, the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next, and an intimate connection to the natural world.

The piece begins with a rite of passage: a young boy is hung by his armpits in a ceiba tree. The ceiba represents the umbilical cord that connects the underworld, the heart and heaven. After hanging for many days and nights the spirit and the body are able to travel the path of the ancient kings. The next sections are based on rituals and lessons Javier learned while living with his mother and father.

One of his first memories is a vision of his mother and other witches dancing a ritual with their animal protectors (wayobs).
To be accepted as part of the lineage of kings he learns to dance with snakes, monkeys and the jaguar in order to understand their powers. Under a curse Javier transforms into an animal with the power to travel to Xibalba (the underworld) where he is exposed to the power of death. Xchel, the goddess of the moon, returns him to his human form where Javier sees his father using his own power to dance on fire.

The piece closes with an important ritual in which a king becomes one with the energies of the past, present and future. The dancer represents the living tree of life; with his feet standing in Xibalba, his torso and arms travel to open the past and the future, life and death, magic and nature, as his head floats in heaven. This ritual opens the doors to another dimension.

Program C: Rosas y Espinas (Roses and Thorns)
Tours with 6 dancers + lighting designer

Rosas y Espinas is a selection of repertory from 2006-2012 celebrating Latin music and culture. It is the perfect evening for hopeless romantics and Latin culture aficionados. The music features famous canciones de despecho (broken heart songs)
from Latin America. The choreographies are inspired by iconic Mexican figures such as la Catrina, Frida Kahlo and Emiliano Zapata and bring to life Latin American traditions such as Day of the Dead. 

Special Touring Project: The Symbol Bearer
Tours with 13 dancers + lighting designer

This epic work was inspired by the Mayan symbol bearer glyphs - figures believed to hold the secrets of the universe. The piece represents each individual as a warrior (symbol bearer) that has the knowledge to live a better life and create a better world. Throughout the choreography a physical, individual and collective revolution unfold. Through highly athletic, daring and technically demanding feats, the symbol bearers demonstrate their heroic abilities. The final image of a snake created by their bodies reminds us that god is in all of us. 

The Symbol Bearer features original musical scores created by Native American composer/musician/performer Jesse Benavides, Brooklyn based sound-image artist Jacob Robinette, and Guatemalan composer/musician Sergio Reyes.

“This piece represents the idea of each human being as the warrior that has the secret to a better life. During the piece these warriors form an alliance to create a better world. They travel through the magic of being born, life, death, reincarnation, light, darkness, hell, revolution, hope, pain and harmony.” – Javier Dzul

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