Last year I went to Oaxaca for the first time. I got to know the capital pretty well and I must say it was one of my best trips so far. After a year of an insatiable desire for Oaxacan cuisine, I decided to spend my summer vacation in Huatulco. 

I had never been to the Oaxacan coast before and was very surprised when I got there. The main attraction in Santa María Huatulco is its nine bays and thirty six beaches. This beaches are completely different than those I had seen before. Most of the beaches I had visited where very plain. Usually, sand that extends alongside the water to what appears to be infinite. Instead, the narrow bays in Huatulco create a more intimate relationship with nature. The beautiful Pacific Ocean along with the jungle make every corner a splendid panoramic view. 

There are many ecotourism activities that can be done while in Huatulco. A great idea is to road trip to nearby beaches like Mazunte, Puerto Escondido and Lagunas de Chacahua (maybe I will do this next time I am around this area). 

I spent most of my time in Huatulco relaxing and doing nothing at the beach. I also went shopping to the town´s artisans market plus I got to eat delicious Oaxacan food. The good thing is that I ate enough Tlayudas for the rest of the year. 

The beach at Montecito Beach Village.

Amazing Montecito seen from above.

I am very grateful with Montecito Beach Village for inviting me to spend a day at their facilities and beautiful beach. MBV is a housing complex, perfect for a couple of days of relaxation, tranquility and contact with nature. My visit there was perfect. Amazing food, an almost private beach for myself and a very kind and warm staff (thank you Stephan and the rest of the staff!). Not many housing developments of this kind manage to crate a harmonious atmosphere along with nature. The establishment celebrates and revolves around the idea of a healthy relationship between urbanism and Mother Nature. This is why many of the materials used for the construction of Montecito Beach Village are the same that can be found nearby in the coastal region. Anyway, I had the best day watching the waves crash at the shore and letting my mind wander around. 

It is very exciting to go out of the country on vacation. But it is also important to get to know the wonders that our beautiful Mexico encloses. We should take advantage of our free time and explore the world, a great idea is to start discovering our own country. 


Chapultepec Castle

Sometimes, fitting museums visits or exhibits into my schedule can get a little complicated. Either I am too tired from rehearsals or I have to be at the theatre all day, hence giving me no chance for recreational activities. 

A couple of weeks ago, I realized I had not done a cultural visit in a very long time. Despite having a performance at Palacio de Bellas Artes later that night, I decided to visit the Chapultepec Castle. 

The castle can be found at the Chapultepec forest. The word Chapultepec comes from the nahuatl meaning "grasshopper´s hill". There has been human presence in this area since at least 3,000 years ago. The Aztecs where the last civilization to ocuppy the area before the conquest. Luckily we can still appreciate the "Baths of Moctezuma", which can give us an idea of the aqueduct system used to bring water to the city in the Pre- Columbian era. 

It was during the viceroyalty period that the decision of building a palace on top of the Chapultepec hill was made. The now called Castillo de Chapultepec has had different purposes throughout history. In 1801 it was a Military Academy, later on the residence of Emperor Maximilan I of Mexico and his wife, and in the future as presidential home. Currently, it is home to the National Museum of History. 

When I first moved to Mexico City, I visited the National Museum of History. A few months later, I danced The Sleeping Beauty with the Compañia Nacional de Danza at the forecourt of the Alcazar.

I had not been to the castle since the last Sleeping Beauty season in 2013. Being back there felt very strange at first. I did not remember what the museum looked like without it being adapted for our performances. While walking through the hallways, I could only think of those long weeks of rehearsals. During this time I was an apprentice and this shows helped me a lot to get noticed by the artistic staff. Within the murals of Siqueiros and Clemente Orozco I could see myself practicing over and over the role of Little Red Riding Hood before going on stage. This was the first time I danced outside the core of ballet... such an easy role would make me feel so nervous! I only got to do two seasons of The Sleeping Beauty, but many where the memories revived that day within the castle´s walls. 

The architecture of the castle is quite marvelous but what I like the best are the majestic gardens and terraces. The Chapultepec Castle is quite a unique place. From the panoramic views of the castle you can feel the mysticism of a city that was once the great Tenochtitlan. 

If you happen to visit the Chapultepec Castle, please tell me all about it. 


Roaming in Rome

There is no way of visiting Rome without going to the Vatican City. You do not have to be religious whatsoever. There is so much history enclosed within its walls, but the most amazing part is seeing incredible art in every corner. 

St. Peter´s Square (the Vatican´s main plaza) was designes by Lorenzo Bernini in 1656. I think the entire plaza is very harmonious and radiates both respect and beauty. The main element is St. Peter´s basilica, which I found to be one of the most stunning churches I have ever seen. I was not expecting less but the exactitude and balance of all the decorations makes it abnormally fascinating. It is also home of Michelangelo´s La Pieta, sadly I did not get to take a picture of it (please look up a picture).

 I thought the David was pure perfection but this sculpture goes beyond perfection. Being a dancer I find it strange how something motionless is able to transmit emotions. I have seen paintings and sculptures where there is clearly an emotion that sets the mood of the work. But somehow La Pieta, a piece of delicately carved marble, is able to make the viewer cry. Completely motionless, but Mary´s face while holding the body of Jesus portraits such an honest pain that it gives the viewer the opportunity to live that moment with her. 

The Vatican museum was incredible. If you plan on visiting, I highly recommend you to not do it in mid July. There is too many people, it is not the same thing when you have no one pushing you around. Even though it was crowded, there were moments in which I was so emotionally connected to the artwork that nothing could bother me. This happened to me when I entered the famous Sistine Chapel. I stared in awe at Michelangelo´s frescoes for as long as I could and then I left the Vatican feeling gratified and overjoyed.

Rome is quite a journey. Getting lost and letting your curiosity wander around is a great way to experience and get to know the city. The Tiber River, ancient Roman sculptures, Egyptian obelisks, interesting markets and shops...there is just too much to explore!!

Altare della Patria. Just a humble monument for Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of unified Italy. 

Sometimes you can find a G for Greta in some pretty strange places.

Egyptian obelisks everywhere!

View from the apartment I was staying. 

Roma you will be missed!!!!!


Photos by Greta Elizondo and Luis Elizondo.

More about Oaxaca

As I told you in my last post, Oaxaca is a true dreamland. I would love to visit during the Guelaguetza celebration in order to enjoy the folk dances and analyze the traditional dresses (like the Tehuana dress, remember?).

It is impossible to write about all the places and wonders that can be found in Oaxaca but I do have some more recommendations, I assure you they are worth it.

Monte Albán is one of the most beautiful archaeological sites I have ever been to. It is not known with certainty who founded it, but at some point it was inhabited by the Zapotecs and later on by the Mixtecs. It was considered the center of political and economic power of the central valleys of Oaxaca.

The architecture of the site exerts such a power and respect that it rendered us speechless.  The air is pure, the view is exquisite from the top of the south platform, and the nature surrounding the pre-hispanic ruins is the final touch for this work of art that history has given us.

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To get a broader idea of Monte albán you should visit the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, there you will find the treasures of tomb 7 that were discovered by Alfonso Caso in 1932. This type of wonders are the things that make learning while traveling way better than learning in any other way.

Decorated skull founded in tomb 7. 

I do not know what's your point of view on shopping, but I have found that I can be a shopaholic. The good thing is that in Oaxaca there is a way to go shopping and at the same time getting to know the place and its artisans a little better. For example there is the town of Alebrijes, which are carved wood figures hand painted with very intriguing designs. The Alebrijes from Oaxaca are an adaptation from the ones invented and made by modeling newspaper by Pedro Linares Lopez.

There is also the Black Pottery (Barro Negro) town, this type of pottery is typical from this state because of its origins that go back to the Zapotecs and Mixtecs. What gives the pottery its distinctive color is the type of earth used and the way it is worked.

One of the artisans told me about how the government has lands where all the town craftsmen can go and get the necessary earth to produce their crafts without any cost. This is a great idea since there should not be a cost on using earth to produce art. Saying this I bought a few pieces from the shop, we have to support the traditions or else they will die with us.

And finally on the shopping list we find the textiles. These rugs and embroidery also come from a long line of tradition. They are handmade with wool and every color comes from a natural source. Vibrant colors and different designs, they are just lovely, especially if you have a living room in need of decoration.

Oaxaca has a lot to offer. So much to experience and learn, the only true option is to travel here and learn for yourself.

Temple of Santo Domingo

Temple of Santo Domingo, new-Spanish barroque architecture.

Somehow they taste like dried chicken...

Your comments and personal experiences are always welcome!


Dreaming in Oaxaca

The state of Oaxaca is filled with history and beautiful places. For example, I have heard that the beaches in Oaxaca are so beautiful there is no comparison with any other, sadly I did not have time to visit them over my trip. But I did visit a few tourist attractions around the city of Oaxaca. If you happen to be traveling around there I advise you to make this one day tour, I promise it is worth it.

Stop #1: Santa Maria del Tule

In the town of Santa Maria del Tule the famous Arbol del Tule (Tree of Tule)i s found. It is known for being one of the oldest trees in the world and thought to be more than 2,000 years old. With a diameter of 14.05 meters (46.1 ft), 30 people with their arms extended would be needed in order to surround it. The data is very impressive but seeing this magnificent tree in person is just sublime. To think that this same tree has seen the Spanish, Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and a lot more really blows my mind.

Stop #2: Mitla, place of rest

This stop will probably take more time than the first one because it is a large archeological site with many buildings. Mitla became the center of politic power for the Zapotecs of the valley when Monte Albán was unoccupied.  

Like many pre-Columbian sites, Mitla was partially destroyed by the Spanish conquerors therefore building a catholic temple over the pre-Hispanic foundations. Luckily many of the Zapotec buildings did survive and now we have the chance to relive the history enclosed between its walls. Architecturally speaking, what caught my eye was the complex mosaic fretwork found all around Mitla. This fretwork or grecas are made with perfectly cut stones making different patterns, usually placed over the walls of buildings. The fretwork is so beautifully done that we could think they were made for a decorative motive when in reality for the Zapotecs they were considered a "symbolic teaching". There are also two tombs open to the public, this was the first time I got a chance to go inside of one. Admiring the place that for many years was filled with corpses that once aspired for an afterlife, was both fascinating and disturbing.

Stop #3: Hierve el Agua

Finally the most awaited stop (at least it was for me) Hierve el Agua. After a long road that goes through Oaxacas´s central valley we get to a set of petrified waterfalls. The name Hierve el Agua (meaning water boils) is given because of the similarity of the water springs to boiling water. The water form the springs was used to create natural baths were you can admire the waterfalls and enjoy a panoramic view.

 The rock formations or petrified waterfalls are formed because of the slow runoff of water high in calcium carbonate over thousands of years.

The view is incredible and the place gives you internal peace from the moment you touch it. It is a daydream.

A place to think, create, dream, and contemplate. The perfect place to finish off a day of learning. After this last stop I would recommend you to go back to the city and eat some mole enchiladas. I believe there is no excuse to not eat mole at least once a day over your trip to Oaxaca.

Hope you enjoy it!


la Sylphide

Too perfect for this world.

La Sylphide, the ballet created  by tenor Adolphe Nourrit is set in a village in Scotland. James is engaged to Effie, a local girl. The day of the wedding James is haunted and seduced by a sylphide; an ethereal spirit which only he can see. James falls onto the    sylphide´s charm and follows her to the forest, interrupting his wedding. The sylph shows James her world in the forest, and he proclaims his love for her. The sylph avoids his grasp since she is a spirit of the air and she will die if touched. Desperate, James takes a veil from Madge (a witch with evil intentions) and is advised to use it to capture the sylphide. When he finally captures her, the   sylphide´s wings fall off and she dies.

Adolphe Nourrit brought this ballet to Filippo Taglioni, master of the Paris Opera Ballet. He choreographed it and casted his daughter the great Marie Taglioni as the sylphide in 1832. Marie Taglioni gained most of her prestige from this role. In 1836 August Bournoville choreographed his own version of La Sylphide, which is the most popular nowadays.

Taglioni is famous for what is thought to be the beginning of pointe work in the history of ballet. Before her many dancers had been going up to the very tips of their toes, but doing it merely as a trick. Marie incorporated this "pointe work" into her dancing but in a subtle, elegant and elevated way. Pointe work back then would be what it is today a really high relevé, almost on pointe but not quite. At this time they did not have modern day pointe shoes, instead they used softer satin shoes.

La Sylphide is commonly known as a revolutionary ballet because it brought Romanticism to the stage.  It is a great example of the emotions and ideologies of the Romantic Period. The unattainable love, the longing for a higher world, and the communion between nature and man.

This is my favorite picture overall, I have given it different meanings. The death of the sylph, maybe how she left the dress that made her visible to the human world, or simply what is left of her. For the entire season I have been perplexed with the idea that sylphides should not be able to die since they are spirits. I finally found a different point of view that gave me some peace of mind. A french Abbé named Montfaucon de Villars stated that " sylphides were made of pure atoms of air and yet they were mortal; the elements of which they were composed could decompose". 

Preparing the stage for Act I.

Today we have the last La Sylphide performance of the season. It is a beautiful ballet in the studio but once it is all set in the glorious Palacio de Bellas Artes´ stage it all changes. The lightning, scenery, and costume designs really bring out the best of each dancer while transporting the audience to a different world.

Dancer Sonia Jimenez in a pre-performance shoot with photographer Carlos Quezada.

Sylphides are less than angels but more than men, enemies of the Devil and servantes of God, according to Montfaucon de Villars.

Sylphs gazing at the earthly world.

Hope you enjoyed it and it would be great if you could come watch us perform this beautiful ballet. Your comments are always welcome!


All photos by Greta Elizondo

The Tehuana dress


Frida Kahlo, born in Mexico. An artist with a different perspective of life and a style that has no comparison.  

As a teenager she suffered an accident that changed her life. The bus she was traveling on crashed with a trolley, leaving her with multiple fractured bones and the incapacity to have children.  This event lead to approximately 32 surgeries during her lifetime.  Due to her inability to walk after the accident Frida started painting more and using it as an outlet for her suffering. 

Owed to the imperfections her body now had, she started using long dresses and skirts to cover up her injuries.




Not long ago I visited La Casa Azul  (Blue House) which was the Home of Frida and herbhusband the muralist Diego Rivera. It is now a museum dedicated to her art. There is a temporary exhibition where you can appreciate the dresses, corsets, and accessories that where recently discovered inside the Blue House. For anyone who loves art, history, and fashion this is a "must see". 


She wore a lot of regional Mexican dresses, specially the Tehuana style which is a traditional type of dress from the state of Oaxaca also the most beautiful in my opinion. 


 My favorite Tehuana dress. 

My favorite Tehuana dress. 


What I truly admire of Frida Kahlo is the way her art and style all came together to reflect her  love and passion for Mexico. 

 Frida Kahlo's  style has inspired designers like Dali Rees and Jean Paul Gautier. 

Frida Kahlo's  style has inspired designers like Dali Rees and Jean Paul Gautier. 



Photos by Greta Elizondo