Maya Stand Up!
In 2007, InHerit’s Co-Director Shoshaunna Parks was approached by the Belizean National Association for the Development of Art (NADA). Inspired by the Belize Archaeology Symposium, NADA wanted to create a play that would feature Maya people and address the destruction and looting of ancient Maya places. We loved the idea and worked with NADA to develop a storyboard that would touch on these important issues. In honor of our help, NADA christened the play’s archaeologist character Dr. Parks!
The play, Maya Stand Up!, was performed by the Capital Culture Theater Group for a Maya audience in the Toledo District of Belize in 2008. In a scene from Act 1 of Maya Stand Up!, the Bol family struggles with whether to accept a generous offer for looted archaeological artifacts.
Please contact us if you are interested in collaborating and bringing Maya Stand Up! to life!
Maya Day Performances
In 2009 and 2010, InHerit was a proud supporter of Maya Day – a celebration of Mayan culture, tradition and history. Along with games, contests, and delicious traditional foods, each Maya Day features performances by local artists.
At each Maya Day, dancers from Toledo villages performed the Cortés Dance, a sacred, spiritual dance with origins in the sixteenth century following the arrival of Europeans in Central America. There are three parts to the Cortés Dance cycle which must be performed in three consecutive years. Each part of the Maya dance lasts two to three days and is performed by married couples and led by elders. Husbands and wives from the villages of Aguacate, Blue Creek and Santa Teresa practice for over a month prior to the performance. When it is time, men, women, and children gather to watch the performance, share food, and celebrate their culture.
The Maya Ball Game (Chaj Chaay)
The Ball Game was important to the ancient Maya. Mimicking the deadly game played by the Hero Twins against the Gods of the Underworld in the sacred Popol Vuh text, the ball game regularly resulted in the sacrifice of the losing team (often made up of captured warriors).
The Ball Game, or Chaj Chaay, is no longer played by Maya people but it remains a fascinating aspect of Maya heritage. The 2009 Maya Day featured the performance of the Ball Game by a 13-member Guatemalan entourage (including two spiritual guides) at the Punta Gorda Sporting Complex. Over 500 spectators came to watch the Chaj Chaay and the spiritual ceremonies associated with it.