COVID has certainly not gone away, but with the vaccine – and warm weather – more people seem to be coming out of hibernation. There was even a parade Saturday near downtown Dallas, a colorful little street festival celebrating spring, renewal, change — and the collaboration of two local theater companies.
It’s the first co-production, ever, between Teatro Dallas and Cara Mia Theatre. Some 80 people or so gathered in Exall Park near downtown. They got their temperatures checked and donned their outfits. Everyone wore COVID masks, but many were sporting more spangled and festive headgear and costumes. Some were even wearing giant puppet-costumes 10-feet tall or more. In Mexico, these are known as mojigangas.
Jaquai Wade Pearson stepped out with a bullhorn. She was the herald, our announcer and guide.
“Welcome to ¡Soltar!” she shouted to the cheers of the audience.
In Spanish, soltar means to let go, to release. And this kind of event – a marching masquerade with puppets and flag-waving – it’s as old as saying ‘Goodbye winter, hello spring.’
“Finally,” Pearson announced. “We are ready to begin!” And the Big Easy Brass Band from Dallas kicked it off.
Everyone headed down Live Oak Street — to the Latino Cultural Center, about five blocks away. Bystanders waved or got out cellphones to record the people wearing Mexican folk costumes: Skeletons and wolves danced to second-line music, the jazz and funk from festive Louisiana parades.