The Cougar Chronicle

Ballet Folklorico Showcase honors Mexican heritage, delights audience

Mekala Lehmunn, Staff Writer

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During an evening of tamales, mariachi music and traditional dances, the Ballet Folklorico de CSUSM celebrated Mexican heritage with an enthusiastic and inspired audience.

The fourth annual Ballet Folklorico Showcase took place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on May 4 in the USU Ballroom. “We are hosting this showcase . . . to show our friends, family and community what we have been working on and . . . dedicated so much time to,” said Veronica Vaca, one of the organization’s co-chairs.

“The aim of this organization [founded in 2011] is to enhance the culture of Ballet Folklorico and indigenous dances from Mexico,” Vaca said.  

 

Francisco Cheva, the Ballet Folklorico faculty advisor, welcomed the 40 to 50 attendees in English before transitioning to Spanish, which he spoke for the remainder of the evening.

In a similar fashion, Vaca greeted the audience in English and co-chair Johnny Fuentes translated her words into Spanish. These gestures honored the many Latinx attendees.

Traditional Mexican music recordings accompanied the Ballet Folklorico as it performed 12 dances with a 30 minute intermission after the first six.

 

The first song was “Sones de Jalisco.” Another notable pre-intermission number was “Un Poco Loco” from Disney’s Coco. Four women and two men performed during this iconic tune and tapped their feet in perfect rhythm with the chorus.  

As the audience ate, the performers changed into less conservative costumes. The seven women replaced their long-sleeved, high-necked gowns with off-the shoulder, short-sleeved dresses and added bright flowers to their hair.

Likewise, the seven men removed their black vests, tied scarves around their necks and substituted their traditional charro hats for smaller black hats, but retained their long-sleeved collared shirts and black pants.

The dances performed after intermission, like the flirtatious “El Toro Mambo,” reflected the more casual nature of the new costumes. Jazzy trumpets and strong drum beats heralded the dancers as they moved with greater freedom.

During “Sones de Sinaloa,” the women’s colorful, flowing dresses twirled high as they spun around. At the end, they knocked down their troublesome male partner with a playful smile at the audience.

“We chose these songs because we wanted to keep some of the more traditional/iconic songs . . .  like ‘Jarabe Tapatío’ and ‘El Son de la Negra,’ while also incorporating a lot of new songs. We wanted to create a traditional but also upbeat atmosphere at our showcase this year,” said Vaca.

The Ballet Folklorico Annual Showcase left quite an impression on the audience. Cesar Orozco, a fourth year psychology major, found the performance “quite magnificent” and added that “it made me remember and appreciate my heritage and roots.”

 

Tanya Castellanos, a fourth year biomedical science major, said that the showcase “brought me closer to my background, [offered me] a new way to see . . . [and to] express my culture . . . [and] encouraged me to join the club next year.”


The Ballet Folklorico de CSUSM will perform on May 10 at the Latino Graduate Recognition Ceremony and on May 23 for “the annual CSU showcase in which multiple CSUs . . . share what they can do with fellow dancers in [a] supportive and encouraging environment,” said Vaca.  

For more information on the Ballet Folklorico de CSUSM, follow their Instagram at @bfdecsusm.

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