National Geographic : 1968 Aug
other beats out a heartbeat rhythm on a drum called an atabal. There were two troupes of dancers. One was resplendent with dazzling costumes, and the other was dressed in shapeless rags and hideous face masks. Petye explained: "One troupe represents good and beauty and the other evil and ugli ness. But in this dance, good does not always conquer evil. The beautiful dancers must make the good win out. Keep your eye on the goblet of wine in front of the dancers." In turn, one of the beautiful dancers and one of the grotesque dancers approached the wine glass. The beautiful dancer stood erect with his upper body held rigid and only his legs in motion. In time to the shrill music, his sandaled feet skimmed above and around the wine glass so closely that it trembled (page 265). When he backed away, the grotesque dancer went through the same routine, but in contrast to the other his motions were purposely disjoint 270 ed. Still, he did not upset the goblet either. The laughing good humor and the applause of the onlookers faded into silent apprehen sion as the dance reached its climax. This was when the Zamalzain, the leader of the beautiful dancers-whose waist was encir cled by a wooden framework representing a tiny horse caparisoned with velvet and lace danced toward the wine glass. His lightning feet performed their movements around the glass, and then suddenly he leaped onto it and as quickly soared into the air and away. The glass rocked violently but it did not spill. Then the king of evil approached the glass. His slovenly dancing mocked the perfection of the leader of the beautiful dancers. His sandals landed firmly on the edges of the glass, but when he leaped away the glass fell over and the red wine spilled. There was a huge sigh of relief from the villagers, and then wild shouts of approval. Beauty had triumphed over ugliness. Good had conquered evil.