Every weekend, at rodeos from Illinois to California, teams of young Mexican American women, known as escaramuzas charras, climb onto side-saddles in elegant charra suits or ruffled adelita dresses and weave their galloping horses through dangerous, high-speed ballets, as heart-stopping as the "skirmishes" from the Mexican Revolution era for which they're named.
"Escaramuza: Riding from the Heart" follows one such team, Escaramuza Charra Las Azaleas, on a two-year quest to represent California and the United States at the National Charro Championships in Mexico, where "to be charro is to be Mexican."
Join us for this special premiere screening of a film produced by Robin Rosenthal and directed by Bill Yahraus, and also co-produced by David Hayes-Bautista, author of El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. There will be a Q&A session after the screening with some of the participants.
Amid growing family obligations and concerns about U.S.-Mexico border violence, young women sacrifice their time, money and personal safety to keep centuries-old Charrería traditions alive in the United States. Their tremendous will and heart help them overcome obstacles and make of Las Azaleas inspiring examples in a culture where Latina female athletes are rare.
America's original rodeo, rooted in the cattle culture of Colonial Mexico, charreada blends the equestrian skills, handcrafted tack, elegant costumes, music, and food of that rich heritage into a living folk tradition. Between the men's riding and roping contests, the female escaramuzas charras perform their perilous, precision horse ballets, bending and twisting their galloping horses around each other in intricate synchronized patterns, like weaving a hair braid at warp speed. For the eight members of Las Azaleas, "escaramuza"--skirmish--describes not only the danger and ferocity of competition, but the tug-of-war between New World modernity and the Old World traditions embodied in their [i]charrería culture.
The film follows Las Azaleas as they rigorously train to compete in Mexico. Their difficult choices demonstrate the values of goal-setting, teamwork, personal responsibility, sacrifice, grace under pressure, and strong family ties. At home, as California and U.S. champions, Las Azaleas pass on their tradition to the next generation: their little brothers and little sisters, sons and daughters. In Mexico, competing against the very best of the best, they must come to terms with their complicated relationship with the culture they love but live only at a distance.
Escaramuza: Riding from the Heart is part of the Voces series by Latino Public Broadcasting. Check local PBS stations for broadcast schedules.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
2:00PM to 4:00PM
The Autry's Wells Fargo Theatre 234 Museum Drive Los Angeles, CA 90065
Price: $11 Discount: For Seniors, Students and Children