The first time I saw this amazing performance, I was in Teotihuacan, an area near Mexico City best known for the pyramids The Sun and The Moon. We were still in the parking lot and had not even ventured inside the pyramid area when my friends pointed at a tall pole. I looked up and saw five men way up at the top. One man was playing a flute and dancing while the other four were seated around him, meters above the ground.
Suddenly four of them plunged downwards, their feet bound by ropes. Hanging upside-down, they twirled around the pole, going lower and lower as they spun through the air. In less than two minutes they were on the ground, to the delight of the hundreds of spectators in the parking lot.
This ritual has its origins in a religious ceremony, apparently associated with fertility of the earth, with the four men representing the four compass points. When I first saw this spectacle more than a year ago, I never expected to see it again, especially in my own neighborhood.
However, just recently my friend and I were strolling through the Jardin Hidalgo one night, when we noticed a tall pole that we had not seen previously on other walks through the garden. We looked up when we heard the flute music. There were the five men on the top of the pole, four of them perched precariously preparing to jump downwards. The entire performance took less than two minutes.
A few days later I was walking through the garden and was able to take a video of this amazing show. The flyers have been performing several times a day for more than two weeks now. No matter how many times I view this, it is always a thrill to see them hanging upside-down by their feet, spiraling downward towards the ground.
And the fee for this spectacular performance? One of the men walks around the park collecting pesos from spectators. It is strictly a free-will offering.
This fascinating performance by the Valvadores de Papantla is guaranteed to be an incredibly memorable experience for people of all ages.