Does having two, Mexican folkloric dance events this weekend make sense? No.

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Two is always better than one when it comes to scoops of ice cream, paychecks and baseball games (doubleheaders).

But not when it comes to major Mexican folkloric dance performances on the same date. That is what is happening this weekend when the Danzantes Unidos Festival comes to Fresno for the 18th time and upstart DanzAlianza hosts two performances at Roosevelt High School.

And that is a major loss for those who love to see the skirt-twirling dances from Colima or the boot-stomping calabaceados from Baja California. They will have to make a choice.

Organizers for both folkloric shows downplay any type of competition between the two, but emails from the newer event have solicited support by telling dancers they don’t have to pay about $1,000 to perform. That is in reference to registration fees for the Danzantes Unidos Festival, which includes three days of workshops.

Danzantes Unidos President María Luisa Colmenárez, whose retirement plans were wrecked by the pandemic, is happy there are many folkloric shows in the region. But, prefers they not bump heads.

She has seen the emails.

“It’s not something that we appreciate hearing about, but in the end people are going to just go where they think they are going to get a better experience,” said Colmenárez, who has directed folkloric dance programs in San José.

The Danzantes Unidos Festival expects more than 1,100 dancers over the weekend who will participate in workshops at Sunnyside High School and perform in showcase concerts at the Wilson Theatre tonight and the Warnors Theatre Saturday night.

Instructors like José Tena (a popular teacher from New México whose speciality are dances from Chihuahua), and Amalia Viviana Basanta Hernández (daughter of Amalia Hernández, the founder of Ballet Folklórico de México) are among those leading the workshops featuring various dances from all parts of México.

The performances will feature groups from throughout California.

The DanzAlianza’s México Magico performances, part of a statewide coalition supported by México’s Secretary of Foreign Relations that includes stops in Sacramento, Riverside and Tijuana, include a 2 p.m. Saturday session for community groups and a 7 p.m. gala show.

The evening show will feature Grupo Folklórico Alika del Nayar from San José and Tonatiuh Danzantes del Quinto Sol from Salinas.

Dr. Víctor Torres, director of the highly acclaimed Los Danzantes de Aztlán at Fresno State, had hosted a Festival de los Danzantes with invited instructors and groups from México until the pandemic hit. Those were on the same weekend at the Danzantes Unidos Festival.

He is thinking about resurrecting that festival.

Can you imagine three folkloric dance events on the same weekend? Well, the timing is perfect because it marks the beginning to spring break for many of the dancers.

There is no question that each event does its best to promote the beauty and culture of Mexican folkloric dance. We need such efforts to make sure we preserve a rich tradition.

But, in this instance, competition is not good because it brings out some ugly words that can only destroy.

Colmenárez isn’t losing sleep over the competing events. But she does not think that dancers should be used as pawns.

“I can say it really has not impacted us other than within the high school students in Fresno having their loyalties called into question, and creating a rift where there really doesn’t need to be one,” said Colmenárez. “These kids don’t deserve to be put in the middle like that.

“They just want to dance.”

Julio Bustos, who founded the folkloric dance group Teocalli in the 1990s, downplayed the competition.

“I don’t see it as a division. I still support Danzantes Unidos,” said Bustos, who spoke as he was driving with an instructor headed to the Danzantes Unidos Festival. “If it wasn’t happening this weekend with us, we would go and I would go see my friends.

“It’s not us versus them,” said Bustos.

It does seem silly to hold these events on the same weekend.

I remember when the Joaquín Murrieta Horse Pilgrimage split into two groups. Those who left wanted the 60-mile horse ride to end near Madera where there was plenty of lodging and restaurants compared to Three Rocks. Two rides make little sense.

Or when business owners left the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to form what is now the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation. The deserters wanted more focus on Spanish-speaking members in their language. That split worked fine.

Best of luck to all the folkloric dancers this weekend!

Juan Esparza Loera is editor of Vida en el Valle.