Another group promotes Mexican folklórico dance in California

·3 min read

The dancers with Ballet Folklórico Netzahualcoyotl walked onto the stage at the Central East High School’s performing arts theater and delivered intricately choreographed dances from the Mexican state of Campeche.

Their light-gold skirts barely touched the floor as they twirled and moved around, with their faux ponytails swishing through the air as the 13 female dancers performed the music of ‘La Flor de la Malagueña,’ ‘Jarabe Gatuno,’ and ‘El Fandango.’

The Concord-based group followed its 8-minute performance later in the show with cumbias from Jopala Puebla.

In between those performances on June 11 were ‘Sones Mestizos Sinaloenses’ by the Sacramento group Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro.

The men kept their right arms extended as if for a handshake while their left arms trailed behind like a rudder while they strutted to ‘El Palo Verde’ and other songs.

The two Mexican folkloric dance troupes were among six that performed in the California Gold showcase sponsored by the 11-year-old Delegación California.

Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro from Sacramento performed Sones Mestizos y Sinaloenses during the Californai Gold folkloric show at Central East High School on June 11, 2022.
Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro from Sacramento performed Sones Mestizos y Sinaloenses during the Californai Gold folkloric show at Central East High School on June 11, 2022.

Without the organization’s efforts, performances by Ballet Folklórico Netzahualcoyotl and Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro would have rarely been seen in Fresno.

Fresno has hosted the Danzantes Unidos Festival in recent years; but Delegación California delegate Rosita González said the two groups have different goals.

Danzantes Unidos, which organizes the largest Mexican folkloric festivals in the United States, began with a festival at UCLA in 1979. The group incorporated in 1994 with a mission of promoting and supporting the Mexican folkloric dance community.

Delegación California, said González, is a branch of Asociación Nacional de Maestros de Danza Popular Mexicana, an association from México that has been around over 50 years and offers two conferences per year in different parts of México. The members of Delegación California travel to México for these conferences.

Delegación California was established in 2011 when González was named a California delegate for the Asociación Nacional de Maestros de Danza Popular Mexicana.

Danzantes de Tláloc from Central High East performed polkas and huapangos de Nuevo León during the California Gold Mexican folkloric dance show at Central High East on June 11, 2022.
Danzantes de Tláloc from Central High East performed polkas and huapangos de Nuevo León during the California Gold Mexican folkloric dance show at Central High East on June 11, 2022.

“Our main goal is to offer teachers the opportunity to participate in dance conferences twice per year,” said González. The conferences will include workshops.

Delegación California has groups from San Diego to San José, including many who have participated in the prestigious San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival throughout the years.

“We are hoping California Gold becomes an annual event, whether in Fresno or any other city,” said González.

Fresno is scheduled to host “a big conference” in 2025. The conference will welcome folkloric instructors from México and the U.S. to “learn about the folklore of the U.S. as it exists in California.”

That conference will include dance workshops for local dancers.

Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro from Sacramento performed Sones Mestizos y Sinaloenses during the Californai Gold folkloric show at Central East High School.
Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro from Sacramento performed Sones Mestizos y Sinaloenses during the Californai Gold folkloric show at Central East High School.

Delegación California has about 40 members, but González hopes it grows as the group puts on more activities, like the California Gold show.

González, who was born in México City, graduated from Chula Vista High School where she began immersing herself in performing arts specializing in Mexican folkloric dance

She graduated from UCLA in 2000 with a dance major and a minor in Chicano/a studies.

González, who serves as secretary of Danzantes del Valle Coalition, has been the folkloric instructor at Central East High School since 2005. The group of about 110 dancers also takes part in an after-school square dance program where they learn the folklore of the U.S.

“We believe it is important to learn about the folklore of México as well as the United States,” she said.

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