To the sounds of a marimba, the hunter stalks the deer before catching it as an offering to San Miguel.
That is what transpires in the legendary Mayan Deer Dance of Guatemala, which will be performed Wednesday by the cultural group Ixim at the Wilmington branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.
Eight members of Ixim (pronounced ee-HEEM) will perform the dance as part of the Los Angeles Craft & Folk Art Museum’s traveling exhibit, International Festival of Masks, which is a celebration of the city’s cultural diversity.
The ancestral Mayas, an Indian group concentrated in Guatemala and Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, believe that the deer dance ensures the well-being of their families and townsfolk.
The deer dance is a drama that, like so much of contemporary Mayan culture, fuses Spanish and Indian elements.
The Ixim dancers will wear traditional costumes and wooden masks.
Ixim is an educational and cultural organization founded in 1986 that assists Guatemalans with immigration matters, English classes and workers’ rights.
The dance, which will be performed at 3:30 p.m., coincides with a display of Mexican and Guatemalan masks at the library. The masks, part of the Craft & Folk Art Museum’s permanent exhibit, will be on display through Sept. 29.
Through the unifying theme of the mask, which has a place in nearly all of the world’s cultures, the International Festival of Masks honors the contributions of more than 75 communities in Los Angeles.
The Wilmington branch is at 1300 North Avalon Blvd. The branch is open from 12:30 to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and Saturday, and 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
Information: (310) 834-1082 or (213) 937-5544.