Danza Del Venado

Informant Info:

  • Nationality: Mexican 
  • Residence: Los Angeles
  • Primary language: Spanish


A.E chose to inform me of an ancient dance from la Mayos, he has known the dance for as long as he can remember in the region of Sonora. It’s the dance that represents the native indigenous Mayos de Navojoa, Sonora. He learned to dance “El Danza Del Venado,” in primary school(elementary). Indigenous Mayos came and taught him, he recalls them speaking their dialect. He competed with other schools and won medals for the dance. A.E heavily emphasized the importance of the dance costume. The costume consists of: a bandana on the head of the person, and above that a real, dried head of a deer. there was another bandana covering the mouth, and a “ropon de manta” covering the body. A belt made of leather that had multiple “pezunas de venado” which in English means the little hooves of the deer. From the big toe, to the ankles up to the calves, there are “tenabaris” that make noise. It is important to note that they dance barefoot. In the dance, they hold “Bullis” that come from a tree and have seeds inside that make noise. This dance is often performed in festivals, one of them being Sabado de Gloria and el Dia de San Juan. The dance is performed by only one person representing “El Venado” and is accompanied by four people playing drums and other instruments while singing the song “El Vendo Baila” in the Mayo dialect. 


After interviewing A.E, I conducted some research to find out more about the origins of this cultural dance. El danza del venado originated in Sonora, Mexico and contains pre-hispanic origins. The Yaqui people started this ritualistic dance, however; since the Mayo people were close neighbors to the Yaqui, they also adopted this dance into their culture. For context, the Mayo Indian people were located in southern Sonora, and northern Sinaloa. The Yaqui Indians were located in southern Sonora as well. This deer dance is performed as a way of honoring the deer that is being hunted for the purpose of feeding the folk group. It is a way of paying tribute to the sacrifice being made, which is the deer. This dance form is a deeply cultural and historical form of ritual and festival entertainment. While in modern times it is used predominantly as a source of entertainment, historically El Danza del Venado was used as a form of respecting nature, especially after taking something(such as hunting a deer).