Folklorico de North Texas celebrates traditional Mexican dance with showcase

Folklorico de North Texas celebrates traditional Mexican dance with showcase

Folklorico de North Texas celebrates traditional Mexican dance with showcase
April 29
18:04 2019

Bright lights and Spanish music set the mood as attendees begin to file into the Lyceum. Backstage, the dancers are huddled together in a circle as one of the members gives a pep talk to the group before their showcase begins.

Melodie Hernandez, the president of Folklorico de North Texas, walks to the center of the stage and welcomes the crowd. Shortly after, the lights turn off.

Dressed in vibrant-colored dresses with ribbon woven through the fabric, the first group of dancers takes the stage to perform “Son de la Negra,” a song and dance representing the Mexican region of Jalisco.

Folklorico de North Texas, a group focused on traditional Mexican dance, is the first of its kind to be established at UNT. The organization’s showcase on April 26 marked the group’s one-year anniversary.

“[The showcase] wouldn’t have been possible without the communication we have as officers and us being able to talk to each other and understand each other from different perspectives,” Hernandez said.

Members of Folklorico de North Texas perform “Las Adelitas,” a song paying homage to the women who fought during the Mexican revolution. Image by: Isabel Anes.

Despite having a quick run-through an hour and a half before showtime and being concerned about whether or not there were enough dresses for each of the dancers, Folklorico members said the stress and hard work leading up to the showcase was rewarding in the end. For those in the organization, planning and finalizing the showcase went deeper than costumes and choreography. It also required hours of diving into technical work including lighting, music and organizing costume changes.

“I don’t think we were just working toward the showcase,” Hernandez said. “We were working toward representation.”

Members dressed in white shirts and colorful skirts carrying wooden guns with a vest of bullets around them marched onto the stage. “Las Adelitas” began to play while the dancers paid homage to the women who fought during the Mexican revolution.

Folklorico de North Texas is a group that continues to grow. This year, the group faced low funding and a lack of resources for their practices and performances. However, the past four months have come with growth in the group’s social media followings, allowing them to pair up with other Latinx groups on campus.

Public relations freshman Alejandra Balbuena manages the public relations for the organization. Balbuena said she believes that not only does the group represent the Latinx population at UNT but is also revolutionary in its own sense.

“We’re marking a new era on campus,” Balbuena said. “It’s bringing people like us together, for us not to be a number and a demographic. We’re doing this so that we can find each other.”

After an intermission, a video played for the attendees upon their arrival back. Several pictures of the group from their first year together played on the screen and toward the end, videos of the members stating what Folklorico de North Texas means to them. A majority of the members all said the same thing: community.

Leslie Mendez performs her solo “El Toro Mambo,” representing the region of Sinaloa. Image by: Isabel Anes.

Political science and history sophomore Harlie Montez, a member of the organization, does not dance for the group but attends every practice and rehearsal to cheer the others on.

“I’ve never met a group of people that made me feel so warm and welcome,” Montez said.

Starting with “La Bamba” and ending with “La Llorona,” Folklorico’s showcase represented the region of Veracruz in both the solid white lace dresses and in the complex footwork the region is known for.

For converged broadcast media senior Joshua Price, an attendee of the event, the showcase was an “amazing experience.” He said the dances representing Veracruz were his favorite because of the cultural influences in the dances and the beats in the music. Price said he believes Folklorico is a place where members of the community can feel welcome.

“I think it brings just a place for belonging,” Price said. “I think there’s a lot of people who try to find their place on campus and this can definitely fill it.”

Ending the show with more of a modern twist, the group performed dances they choreographed to “Un Poco Loco” and “Recuerdame,” songs from Disney Pixar’s “Coco.”

Moving forward, Folklorico members hope to be a representation of Latinx culture both on and off campus. The group plans to showcase Folklorico in the art gallery in the Union, sharing the meaning of and the process behind the art form with other UNT students. The group recently partnered with Lake Dallas Elementary School, where they will help teach Folklorico to the younger students.

Members of Folklorico said they hope to see the organization going strong 20 years from now and even after that. For now, they want to continue establishing the organization and continue getting their name out.

“We’re activists and we’re artists,” Hernandez said. “We’re here to stay.”

Featured Image: Folklorico de North Texas presents their showcase on April 26, marking their one-year anniversary since the organization was established. Image by: Isabel Anes.

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Isabel Anes

Isabel Anes

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