In order to understand who you are, it helps to know where you came from.
“One of the most important things as part of any culture, is to be proud of your background and your roots,” said Alberto Reynaga, a dancer and the assistant director for Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl, a Mexican folk dance troupe from Aurora. “In Mexico, dances are part of the school curriculum. I have mothers here tell me, ‘Now my children have the opportunity to do what I did in school.’ With our dances, their kids can continue in the same tradition.”
Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl will perform on Dec. 6 at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora. The dance troupe is dedicated to instilling pride and cultural awareness in Hispanic youth while preserving the cultural music and dance of the Mexican people.
With more than 100 performers, from 3 to 50 years of age, Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl presents different dances using their own stage decorations and authentic Mexican wardrobe. This year, dances by Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl will represent an assortment of regions of Mexico.
“The dance called El Jarabe Tapatio (known internationally as “the Mexican hat dance”), is one of the most recognizable Mexican Folklorico dances from the state of Jalisco,” said Reynaga about a sample dance from the show. “The costumes for the women in this region feature multi-colored dresses adorned with ribbons and lace. The men’s traditional outfit is that of the charro, which is usually decorated in gold or silver trim. The men would always wear their sombreros.”
The theme for this year’s show is “Thirty Years of Dancing with the Heart.” Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl will have special guests to help celebrate its anniversary.
“Singer Goyo Cruz and a trio of musicians doing traditional folklore music will be in the show,” Reynaga said. “They are all from San Luis Potosi, Mexico.”
The Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl was originally formed as a youth church group by director and choreographer Juan Manuel “Nery” Cruz in 1983.
“I think the longevity is due to the director who founded it, Juan Manuel Cruz,” Reynaga said. “It is due to his patience with the group and his motivation to do something good for the community. It is his passion.”
And the passion and enjoyment seem to filter down to the participants.
“It’s very satisfying seeing everybody happy during rehearsals and in performance,” Reynaga said. “The little kids get the biggest kick out of the dancing. It’s a lot of fun for everyone.”