Dance is one of the most visible national symbols of Greater Mexico and Mexican identity or Mexicanidad in all of its ethnic diversity and transnational complexity. No other representation of the Mexican nation approaches its power of signification. To more fully understand the history and diffusion of dance, this broader, borderless, more cultural sense of nation (Paredes 1995, p. xiv) must extend to pre-Hispanic times when mexicano was pronounced meshicano and was synonymous with the Aztec empire and its lingua franca, Náhuatl. The southern borderlands of the greater Meshico extended past Guatemala and into Nicaragua. The Spanish Conquest, with all of its cultural, spiritual, and political consequences, is a ubiquitous theme of danza or sacred and ritual dance across this entire cultural region. Baile refers to the many traditions of social dance that celebrate and animate the everyday lives of people.