Translated by Jesús Ronquillo / Circuito Frontera
Singing with poise in downtown Ciudad Juarez. A woman with long black hair wears dark glasses and a hat adorned as a crown on her head. Long, shiny chains and large earrings show off her extravagance.
She wears a “Zoot” costume that shows the elegance that characterizes a “Pachuco” and to complete her attire, white shoes that highlight each step she takes when dancing.
Proud to be a Pachuca woman and to dance to the Jazz and Mambo rhythms, Veronica Rocha is a native of Ciudad Juarez, but is also known as a teacher for giving dance classes.
For Verónica, being from Pachuca means a legacy that is carried in her blood and that has been passed from generation to generation.
She mentioned that she would have liked to live in the forties and fifties (her grandparents’ time) and be able to enjoy those times.
“It is our passion to dance and sing, so it’s like something you have in your blood. It’s like your life, it’s like a meal and you have to feed your body with it,” she said.
She recalled that she learned to dance with her grandparents, parents and uncles at family gatherings, although they have passed away, Veronica continues to keep the Pachuca culture in her life.
One of the characters that has become a symbol for the pachucos in Ciudad Juárez is Germán Valdéz, better known as “Tin Tan” and there is a Museo de la Frontera (MUREF), where several pachucos attend to rehearse their dances and pay homage to the late Mexican comedian and actor.
I remember my grandfather used to sit on a little wooden bench that he made and he would watch Tin Tan’s movies and all of that is engraved in his mind. He is a very important character in our lives and I think he left something very beautiful too, he is a great artist, the ‘Pachuco de Oro’ and no one compares to him, no one,” he commented.
All the memories she has about her presentations at the MUREF are beautiful; watching how people applaud, smile and sing along with her have marked her in her life as a pachuca.
“It is a daily experience, it is an unforgettable experience, maybe when we no longer exist here on this earth, they will remember us a little bit, right? I imagine that this is how it will be, because what we come here is to make people have a happy or fun time and remember their ancestors.
There are many people who come and tell us, ‘oh, you know that song reminds me of my son who already died’ or ‘with that song I met my husband’, that is, people always come and motivate us with a comment” she mentioned.
Although Verónica took a break from her pachuco style, in 2016 she decided to take it up again.
For her, being pachuca is not a fad, but a deep-rooted identity left to her by her family that complements her unique way of being.
In each presentation she enjoys sharing with her peers and putting the culture of the pachucos on high.