Making a Point in Matehuala

April 4th, 2012 10:00 am


In the city of Matehuala, Mexico, in the northern state of San Luís Potosí on the high plateau of the Huasteca Potosina, a small team from Vice Magazine discovered a daring, swaggering subculture of rodeo dancers who enjoy extreme pointiness in their foot wear.

Martín Hernandez Rodriguez (red shirt), Saul Nicolás Coronado (black shirt), and Gabriel Rodriguez Flores (white shirt) are a dance crew from Buenavista.

Fans of this botas vaqueras exóticas phenomenon customise their boots, some of which have been known to measure upward of  5 feet. The boots are further pimped with paint, glitter, LED lights, bits of hardware, mirrors or sequins.

Various cowboy venues in Matehuala, host dance-offs to music known as tribal guarachero. The music is described as “a combination of thumpy house music, ancient Hispanic chants and flute work, and Colombian dance songs known as cumbia.” Pointy-toed participants in these dance contests spend ages  choreographing intricate footwork routines and creating original outfits out of fabric and paint. At these events, there usually are pointy boot contests as well. The prize may only be a bottle of whiskey or the prestige of winning, but pointy boot designers and wearers are devoted and serious.

Gustavo, 11, and Carlos Mendoza, 15, are known as Los Hermanos. They took second place in the dance contest finals.

Though the Vice team found the subculture to be flourishing in Matehuala, there is some disagreement on its origins. For example, Gabriel Amaro Barajas, aka Minri, insisted that his crew, Barrio Apache Hyphy, started the trend—not in Matahuala but in the small neighboring community of Zaragoza de Solís.

See original article on Vice.com. Words by Esteban Sheridan Cardenas. Photos by Edith Valle.


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© Anne Kroul, 2013.