Archives for posts with tag: baile folklorico
It's All About Folklorico blogger Sabrina Valles (left) and Christopher Sandoval at Danzantes Unidos Festival 2014

It’s All About Folklorico blogger Sabrina Valles (left) and Christopher Sandoval at Danzantes Unidos Festival 2014

(Disclosure: I am the Marketing Director of Danzantes Unidos de California, the organization that hosts Danzantes Unidos Festival)

Danzantes Unidos de California, a 501(c)(3) Mexican folk dance network organization, announces the city of Fresno as the site location of its annual Mexican folk dance festival, Danzantes Unidos Festival (DUF) for 2015. Over 1,000 Mexican folk dancers across the United States are expected to attend the three-day event on March 27-29, 2015.

The 2015 Festival will offer over 50 Mexican folk dance workshops to participants of all ages and skill levels at Clovis West High School in Fresno. Each workshop will highlight the music and dances of specific regions in Mexico.  Danzantes Unidos de California will select maestros to educate the participants on the dances, history and culture of the region over a two-day period.  On the last day of workshops, the participants will perform one of the dances learned to their family, friends and the folklorico community.  Participating dance organizations will have the opportunity to feature their repertoire at the DUF Showcase Concert series scheduled each night of the festival at Warnors Center for the Performing Arts.

In addition to the cultural dance workshops and the DUF Showcase Concert series, DUF 2015 will host a variety of cultural activities throughout the weekend that will be free and open to the general public.  The cultural activities open to the public include:

  • DUF Mercado
  • DUF Multimedia Lecture Hall
  • DUF Fandango
  • DUF Concierto de los Niños
  • DUF Ofrendas y Altares
  • DUF University Meet and Greet

This is the fifth consecutive year DUF will be held in Fresno, and the 12th year in the festival’s 36 year history.  Fresno has been selected as the site location more times than any other city. Danzantes Unidos de California board of directors and staff will work alongside local folklorico groups and volunteers to run the festival.  Anyone interested in participating in the Danzantes Unidos Festival 2015 activities are encouraged to visit http://www.danzantes.org and follow its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for additional information.

Correction: December 6, 2014

An earlier version of this article misstated the number of years Danzantes Unidos Festival was held in Fresno. This is the fifth consecutive year DUF will be held in Fresno; not the fourth consecutive year as originally noted in the article.

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ML & RudyAccording to Pew Research, 54 percent of adult internet users post photos and videos they have created themselves and 47 percent of adult internet users share photos and videos they have found on the internet (2013).  Folklórico dancers have endless opportunities to share their story with photos and videos.   From practices, performances, selfies, and paparazzi shots, the photos and videos provide folklórico social media administrators a chance to engage and interact with their audience.  In this blog post, I will share with you three tips on how I utilize photos and videos to share my story.

1)  If the photo/video is interesting to you, it most likely will be interesting to your audience.
No one knows your audience better than you do.  They are following you for a reason and choose to continue following you.  By posting photos and videos you find interesting, you are giving them a reason to continue following you.  When they like, comment positively, or share your post, they are praising you and sharing your story for you.

2) Let your followers see your world from your lens.
I encourage you to post a variety of photos and videos.  As I mentioned earlier, folklóristas have many opportunities to do this.  Give them a backstage pass to your world, because I guarantee they will love to see it.

3)  Sometimes, a successful post does not have to be all about you.
I encourage you to share photos and videos of other groups and artists.  A majority of the University Folklórico Summit posts do not mention the University Folklórico Summit at all.  We are always sharing photos and videos of collegiate folklórico groups because we want to showcase our audience and show the world the wonderful things they are doing.  By sharing their posts, they are more likely to share, like, or comment your posts.

I cannot wait to see how you will utilize photos and videos to engage with your audience.  I hope I have the pleasure to someday share one of your posts.

Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. (n.d.). Photo and Video Sharing Grow Online. Retrieved November 4, 2013, from http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Photos-and-videos.aspx

Author’s Note: This post first appeared on the Danzantes Unidos blog when I was the co-director of the University Folklórico Summit 2014.  This post will always remain close to my heart because it launched my interest in blogging about folklorico.  I hope you enjoy this oldie but goodie.

Photo Courtesy of Ballet Folklorico de CSUF

Photo Courtesy of Ballet Folklorico de CSUF

School is officially in session and college folklorico groups are beginning their first month of practices. Approximately 40 people attend the orientation meeting and half of them show up to the first practice. Some of the new members are first timers and others have danced for years. Either way, any folklorista will benefit from joining their college folklorico group. Here’s why.

1. Your university folklorico group becomes your home away from home.

“My college experience has been amazing and it is because of folklorico,” said Krystal Skeens, a third year at University of Texas of the Permian Basin and member of UTPB Ballet Folklorico. “We are more than just a team, we are a family. We care for one another and we look after each other.”

Krystal describes a unique support system that college folklorico groups offer. Your group members understand the difficulties of balancing school with work. They can help you discover yourself and find your place at the university. For those who live away from home, group members help make this transition easier.

“Being away from home can be tough and at times, some of us want to give up. We each remind each other why we are there,” said Krystal.

2. Career skills can be learned and practiced with your university folklorico group before the real world begins.

As a student at UC Santa Cruz, Edgar Ontiveros sought out the Latino community and discovered Grupo Folklorico Los Mejicas de UCSC. He became friends with members in the group, attended their annual Spring Concert, and was personally invited to the space. Edgar was attracted to the festive nature and cultural aspect of the group. He was involved in the education committee and helped develop choreography for one of the regions. After graduating UC Santa Cruz, Edgar became the Health and Outreach Coordinator at the Santa Cruz Community Health Center. He credits Los Mejicas for helping him develop his career skills before he entered the workforce.

“I learned a sense of self esteem, to work with other people, to be a leader, and to speak out for what I think is right. These skills were practiced and learned with Mejicas,” said Edgar.

3. You have the ability to develop your university folklorico group.

University groups offer folkloristas a unique opportunity to give their own input and shape the group’s future. I still see the effects of my decisions on Ballet Folklorico de CSUF two years after my executive board term. All university folklorico groups run differently. Some university folklorico groups hire maestros/as; others have student maestros/as. Some groups have an executive board; others do not. Despite the organizational structure, students have an opportunity to share and develop their talents that will affect the future of the group. If you are a good teacher, you can volunteer to teach the beginning members the steps. If you love event planning, you can lead the event planning committee for your upcoming show. I believe Edgar Ontiveros described this aspect best in our interview, “You have a lot to share and grow as a dancer, teacher and leader.”

Papa

I will never forget the look on my grandfather’s face when I entered onstage in my USC inspired ranchera to the sound of La Negra. His normal dazed expression turned into a smile and a light of joy twinkled in his eyes. I have never seen him so happy in the 14 months he had been bedridden at that point. That moment I had with my grandfather onstage made the work and effort I put into planning the folklorico show worth it. I began dancing folklorico because my grandma and my papa wanted me too. Now I dance folklorico to honor them.

I began my folklorico journey as a dancer at 4 years old when my grandma persuaded my mom to sign me up for classes. When she was younger, she along with her two younger brothers was able to take a class with a local community group. She learned and performed Las Chiapanecas and fell in love with folklorico. My grandma wanted to continue taking lessons but was unable to due to her family financial situation. When I began dancing, my grandma and papa did everything they could to support me. They took me to my dance lessons, they went shopping with my mom and I for costumes and accessories and they attended my performances.

My grandparents are my biggest fans. They support my evolving role in the folklorico community and strive to be there whenever they can despite the challenges they face. My grandparents set off the perfect chain reaction in beginning my folklorico journey; something I will always be thankful for.

The Las Vegas Mariachi and Baile Folklorico Conference offers workshops and a performance opportunity at the Las Vegas International Mariachi Festival.

Once again, approximately 250 folklorico dancers and mariachi musicians will learn and perfect choreography and music at the third annual Las Vegas Mariachi and Baile Folklorico Conference.  Hosted by Arizona-based CHISPA Foundation, the conference will occur on September 18 through 20, 2014 at Harrah’s Resort and Casino.

At the end of the conference, all of the participants will take the stage at the Las Vegas International Mariachi Festival on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at the Axis Theatre in Planet Hollywood.

“The opportunity to perform on the Planet Hollywood Axis Theatre is just an experience within itself…it is very exciting to be apart of it,” said Julie Gallego, Executive Director of the CHISPA Foundation.

This year, Silvia Lozano of Mexico City will be the Baile Folklorico director and her dancers from her company, Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México Aztlán will instruct the Master and Advanced folklorico workshops.  Lozano is very interested in young people and their knowledge about our culture, dance, music, costumes and the meaning behind them.  “The moment they know their own culture, that thing is going to give them an identity which is very important,” said Lozano.

Last year’s participant Michael Cervantez is excited to attend the Las Vegas Mariachi and Baile Folklorico Conference again and to learn from Silvia Lozano this year.  “I have seen her stuff. Her dances are beautiful and I am looking forward to learning from her,” said Cervantez.

Last year’s conference attracted 220 participants from across the U.S. and Canada and this year’s folklorico participants will learn dances from several regions of Mexico including Jalisco and Yucatan.  For more information about the Las Vegas Mariachi and Baile Folklorico Conference, visit www.lasvegasmariachiconference.com.

Photos provided and used with permission by CHISPA Foundation.

(While Making My First Trenza)

My First Folklorico Trenza

I made this folklorico trenza to match my Jalisco ranchera.

I have never made a trenza before and have never learned to make one. Since I am going to Viva Fest on July 25, 2014 and I am planning to wear my new ranchera as I perform at the Viva Fest concert, I decided it was time to teach myself how to make a trenza. I am excited to tell you that I survived my first trenza making experience and am proud of how it turned out. Along the way, I discovered some tricks that helped me make my first trenza and felt the need to share them.

Side view of my trenza.

Side view of my trenza.

My trenza showing off its profile.

My trenza showing off its profile.

Trick #1: Use a chair to create the ponytail- When I first started making the trenza, I was unsure how to turn a ball of yarn into a braid. Luckily, my good friend and CEO of MiiCamisa Folk/Urban Wear, Chalome Gonzalez created a YouTube video called, “How to Make a Braid Extension for Folklorico” which helped me get started. In the video, Chalome wrapped the yarn around a chair to create the ponytail. The chair helps turn a ball of yarn into a ponytail easily and quickly. Thanks Chalome for the trick!

This chair became my biggest asset when I was turning a ball of yarn into a yarn ponytail.

This chair became my biggest asset when I was turning a ball of yarn into a yarn ponytail.

Trick #2: Tie the ribbon and the yarn ponytail together- I made a beginner mistake by tying the ribbon around the ponytail. I wish I used a string of yarn to tie the ponytail and ribbon together before making the braid.

Beginner Mistake

Notice how I tied the ribbon around the ponytail on the left hand side of the photo. I do not recommend attaching the ribbon this way.

Better way to attach ribbon to yarn ponytail

Attach the ribbon to the ponytail as demonstrated in this photo.

Trick #3: Braid stubs are easier to wrap with ribbon when turning a single braid into a circle braid- Make sure the braid stub ends are short and even in length. It is easier to wrap ribbon around braid stubs when making a circular braid.

Just in case you do not know what a braid stub looks like.

Just in case you do not know what a braid stub looks like.

Trick #4: Use your cellphone as a measuring tool- I did not want to look for a ruler so I used my cellphone to measure the ribbon for my bows. For the type of bows I wanted to make, I wrapped the ribbon around my phone to make sure each bow was equal in length.

My cellphone makes a great measuring tool

My cellphone makes a great measuring tool.

My perfect bow thanks to my cellphone

My bow looks perfect thanks to my cellphone.

Trick #5: E6000 glue is way better than a hot glue gun- I first discovered this glue when I began to rhinestone my corkboard and my folklorico inspired graduation cap. This glue is an industrial strength adhesive that works well on most surfaces. When using this glue, I recommend placing the tube on a piece of paper since it drips and using a toothpick to place the glue on a small surface (like the ribbon). It is sticky if it gets on your hands and I don’t recommend this glue for children. You can buy E6000 glue online or at any craft store. If you want more tips on using this glue, check out this YouTube video by Susan Street and its comments section.

This glue is amazing.

This glue is amazing.

There are many ways to make trenzas for Jalisco and every region in Mexíco. The tricks I learned in my first trenza making experience are not the only tricks in the trenza making world. I am not an experienced trenza maker and will continue to discover new tricks as I continue creating more trenzas. However, I would love to hear everyone’s tips and tricks on trenza making whether you are experienced or new. Feel free to write a comment with your tips and tricks below. In the meantime, happy trenza making folklóristas!

I am super excited to be attending ¡Viva Fest! 2014 on July 25 – August 1 in San Jose, California. For those who don’t know, ¡Viva Fest! is San Jose’s annual Mexican Heritage and Mariachi Festival hosted by the Mexican Heritage Corporation.  This event features quality music and dance workshops that educate its attendees about the Mexican culture. This event has a lot in store for participants attending the 23rd annual event. Listed below is the top 5 reasons why folklóristas should attend ¡Viva Fest! 2014.

5. Networking with the folklórico community – Meeting people is very beneficial for one’s personal and professional life. I love networking with the folklórico community because we all share a common bond and passion. I am always amazed by the number of folklóristas I meet at the festivals/conferences and learning our six degrees of separation. Wherever you go, I feel a folklórista can find a folklórista to visit. I will be seeing my Nor Cal folklórista friends when I am at ¡Viva Fest!.

4. The Location – San Jose is about an hour away from San Francisco and is a great place to visit for all ages.  There are many events happening in Downtown San Jose throughout the month of July.  I plan to see The Tech Museum of Innovation and to explore the nightlife in Downtown San Jose.  I also want to make a pit stop at Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

The Tech Museum of Innovation Pier 39 San Francisco

3. The Price – According to the ¡Viva Fest! website, the registration fee for the dance workshops is $85 from July 1- July 20.  After July 20, the registration fee is $150.  If you do the math, it will cost about $12 to $13 a day for the classes.  I paid about $150 dollars for round-trip airfare from LAX/SNA to San Jose Airport.  I am hoping to pay $80-$90 per night on a hotel room and if multiple people share a room, it becomes cheaper.

Low Price

2. Quality Folklórico Instruction – Maria Luisa Colmenarez and Jose Tena are very influential maestros within the folklórico community.  They have done their own research on the different Mexican folk dance regions and have developed innovative choreographies. They both co-choreographed the Unofficial Guinness World Record for the Largest Mexican Folk Dance at Danzantes Unidos.  As maestros, they teach the steps and the cultural significance behind them.

My folklórico family jose tena

(I also heard that Rudy García will be guest teaching as well.)

1. An opportunity to perform with Mariachi Sol de Mexíco and Symphony Silicon Valley – I grew up listening to Mariachi Sol de Mexíco in my grandma’s car which makes this opportunity a dream come true for me.  All workshop participants will perform at the ¡Viva Fest! concert at San Jose State University on August 1.  I am positive every folklórista loves the opportunity to perform on a big stage with a live mariachi.  Do not forget your rancheras and your charros!

Mariachi-Sol-De-Mexico-De-Jose-Hernandez_583x336 Symphony Silicon Valley

If networking with the folklórico community, San Jose, a low price, quality folklórico instruction and an opportunity to perform with Mariachi Sol de Mexíco and Symphony Silicon Valley sounds appealing to you, you should attend ¡Viva Fest! .  As a folklórista blogger, it is my duty to inform you of quality workshops that will teach you about the Mexican culture and benefit you as a dancer.

For more information about ¡Viva Fest!, visit vivafest.org.