|The senior Isla women's group.|
There’s loud music, and outrageously flamboyant costumes, and laughter for five days.
At four in the afternoon on Sunday, the dance groups were scheduled to assemble on the old airport runway across from the Navy base in preparation for the first parade.
Of course this being Mexico where everything starts at least two hours later than planned, there were only two groups who were on time – one being a collection of my friends who decided to debut as dancers this year.
|Las Brujas de Isla Mujeres|
Their ages ranged from mid-thirties to mid-seventies, and they were all born someplace other than Mexico. Las Brujas de Isla Mujeres the Witches of Isla Mujeres are all gringas, foreigners.
How did this come about?
According to Garnette Hardesty, Betsy Snider started it off by posting a video in September to her Facebook page. (Most of you will know of islanders Betsy Snider and her husband Tony Garcia because of their fabulous photos of life in Mexico.) The video Betsy posted was an amusing rendition of the Wolfshager Hexenbrut Witches Dance. She hinted to Bev Willard and Garnette that it might be a fun idea for this year’s Carnaval parade.
|Our friend Melodie|
Bev suggested that maybe Garnette could create a Facebook page to see if anyone else was interested in participating, so she did. Garnette and a few friends sent out invites to others asking them to join the Facebook group.
Bev, who was visiting family in the US prior to Halloween, offered to bring back costume supplies for anyone who was interested.
Those two actions really got the ball rolling.
Starting January 6th, the eclectic collection of women began to practice the dance steps, sometimes at the Parque Gaviota in Colonia Salina Chica, or on the Malecon behind the Cultural Center, and sometimes at the home of one of the other members.
|Garnette - the green-faced bruja|
At first they shuffled and stumbled over the unfamiliar routines and then they started to enjoy the dancing. They worked the choreography at twenty different daytime and evening rehearsals, so often they all knew the words to the song by heart. Without costumes. With brooms. And then with complete costumes and brooms.
On parade day, Sunday February 11th there were twenty-seven witches set to scare the living daylights out of the crowd. They strutted and danced their way along Rueda Medina, from the airport north to Jax Bar & Grill. The audience loved them. Afterwards, the fun and laughter was evident in their many back-and-forth messages reliving the experience.
|More witches - Sue Lo in centre|
For the second parade on Monday February 12th, the dance troupe was a little smaller. Several dancers had conflicting obligations helping out at the opening night of the annual Island Time Music Festival. But the ones that performed for the second parade had as much fun as the first time, despite tired feet, sore knees and aching bodies.
The parade dancers included: Barbara Beck, Margaret Chiffriller, Melodie Deschamps, Esther Ellis, Charlotte Enroth, Kitty Goldberg, Jo Hall, Garnette Hardesty, Jan Johnson, Karon Kailles, Christina Keiffer, Anna Krallis, Ruth Lacey, Brenda Lamonica, Jeanette Lawrence, Lindell Lehrer, Tammi Lewis, Arla Licata, Sue Lo, Karen Mickool, Trina Noakes, Pattie Packard, Christina Rich, Layla Sanders, Ann Shannon, Cindy Tucker, and Cyndi Yates.
|Colour and music!|
And a final note, a special thank you note from Garnette:
There are so many people to thank, and so many behind the scenes collaborators who helped get this off the ground, to make it all happen. The Municipality of Isla Mujeres, Dr. Antonio Coronado Rojas Secretario General, Carlos Ruben Perez Martin Centro Cultural Isla Mujeres, Betsy Snider, Beverly Willard, and Steve Broin the owner of Casa Sirena.
Glenn D, Lee K, Ann, Melodie D, Steve B, Roger H, Jerry E, Peter C, Gail-M S, Margaret C, Gail M and Ashley B for their assistance with planning, music, electronics, technical support, make up, costumes, music, drivers, equipment, water suppliers, plus the after party planning and hosting.
Most of all I want to thank the dancers for their determination and dedication.
What a great idea! And a great bunch of women. We hope you are game to do it again in 2019.Top of Form
Lynda & Lawrie
Coming soon Isla Mujeres Mystery #3 Tormenta Isla