Archives for posts with tag: danza folklorico

itsallaboutfolklorico-newyears

A new year offers a time of reflection, hope and empowerment for everyone across the globe.  We set goals for ourselves in every aspect of our lives which may include living a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world or being a better family member or friend to your loved ones.   I am challenging myself this year to learn and empower others as a folklorista and cultural instigator of our beautiful artform.  Here is what I plan on doing:

Learn

I am a big advocate of learning.  I plan on reading more books on folklorico history and anthropology such as The Folklorico Handbook by Rudy García or Dancing Across Borders: Danzas y Bailes Mexicanos edited by Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Norma E. Cantú and Brenda M. Romero.  I also want to learn a different dance style such as ballet.  In addition to, I plan on meeting as many folkloristas as I can.  I want to hear their stories and learn their perspectives on life and folklorico.

Empower

Empowerment can range in various ways. As a dancer, you can empower the audience you share the story with.  As a maestro/a, you can empower your dancers by showing them a new step or sharing the story of our culture.  Parents can empower their children by educating them on hard work and success.  Supporters can empower followers by sharing the passion of folklorico on social media or with their friends.  In 2015, I want to empower the folklorico community as a storyteller by documenting stories and sharing resources on Danzantes Unidos and It’s All About Folklorico blogs.  I want to share our passion with the world through written and visual online media.

I hope 2015 brings a year of success for you, your loved ones and folklorico family.  May your passion for folklorico continue to flourish this year.

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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.

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!

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Miicamisa Folk-Urban Wear is leading the way in providing urban yet cultural folklorico wear for folklóristas. With a modest beginning in David and Irene Gonzalez’s garage three years ago, Miicamisa has grown from providing folklórico wear to the Central Valley in California to fulfilling orders across the country. Its owner and head designer, Chalome Gonzalez is a young, down to earth folklórista who also teaches at a high school and community college part-time. I had the opportunity to interview Chalome to learn more about Miicamisa and her inspiration behind her designs.

chalome individual

It’s All About Folklórico: How did Miicamisa begin?

Chalome Gonzalez: My mother was a director of El Sol Dance Company, a folklórico troupe in Fresno, CA. I grew up surrounded by folklórico and dance. I remember running around the dance studio and using skirts as blankets for nap time. As a teen, I was always drawing, doodling, and creating, and I always wanted to wear my art. I painted on t-shirts, shoes, pants…anything to represent myself and wear my own art. At 22, I began teaching myself to screen print. It was very difficult; I even wanted to quit a few times. I kept working at it and I took over my parent’s garage with equipment, paints, and t-shirts. I began making shirts for some local churches and businesses in Fresno. After printing shirts for others, I began to create my own designs again; this time inspired by folklórico. I thought, “If ballet dancers, hip hop dancers, and jazz dancers have t-shirts to show their love for dance, why can’t folklórico dancers?” So I wore my first design to practice, and everyone in the group loved it and wanted to buy one. I was in shock that people really liked my designs and were willing to pay for them. I began making more designs inspired by folklórico and word spread to each of the folklórico groups in town. People from LA and the Bay Area saw the shirts I posted on my Facebook and wanted to buy them as well but we didn’t know how to create a website since it was very expensive to have one made. Luckily our family friend, Alfredo Ponce, who just happened to dance folklórico with El Sol, knew how to create websites and got us online. This is our 3rd year in business as Miicamisa and it’s been so great. Now we can ship all over the U.S. and folklórico dancers everywhere can wear their pride on their chest!

It’s All About Folklórico: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Chalome Gonzalez: Everywhere! I look at t-shirts online or at the mall and see what’s popular or what I would wear. Then I would add a folklórico twist or my own ideas. I try to think, if I wear this shirt, what statement am I making? I want Miicamisa to be positive and showcase Latinos in a strong way. I hate when I see shirts that say negative things about our culture. For example, if you look up Mexican or Latino shirts online, you see ‘Borracho, Im your Papi, etc;” sayings that are just negative. So I want to kind of change that. Even if its just a t-shirt, I want people to wear it and feel proud, like “Yes, I dance folklórico, I love my culture, I’m in college, I’m a role model!”

It’s All About Folklórico: I am a huge fan of your social media, in particular Instagram! How do you guys come up with ideas for the posts you create?

Chalome Gonzalez: Well again I see what others are doing and then try to flip it! I saw a lot about #flashbackfriday so I thought I’ll post old pictures of me dancing folklórico and call it #folkloricofriday . Then I asked others to do it and people really caught on to it. Again why can we not have our own hashtag day. Now every Friday, I try to create a meme to go with Folklórico Friday. Sometimes its hard; some I don’t get as many “likes.” I try to figure out what people like but its just about putting it out there and seeing the response. Over all social media has allowed us to expand and get to know our customers. We have some people who as soon as they purchase from our store, they keep coming back. We get to have conversations with people online, make connections, and get immediate feedback on ideas. A lot of times they are helping me create the designs. It’s been really great using social media and seeing our customers post about their shirt! We also try to do contests online through Facebook and Instagram and people love that as well!

Miicamisa team

It’s All About Folklórico: What advice would you give to a young folklórista who hopes to start a business one day?

Chalome Gonzalez: Definitely go for it, but I think you have to be different. If you can find one thing about your business that is different from others, you will stand out. I could have kept making t-shirts with no theme, no reason, like all the screen printers in the central valley, but I saw a lack in folklórico inspired wear and tapped into that. So my advice is to find something that isn’t out there on the market or try to make your business a little different from all of the other businesses like it. If you like doing it, keep doing it! To me, designing and creating shirts is not work because I love it. I can spend all day doing it and I’m happy.

Thank you Chalome for agreeing to be interviewed. I hope everyone checks out Miicamisa Folk-Urban Wear’s website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to purchase some of the latest folklórico fashion.

Photos courtesy of MiiCamisa Folk-Urban Wear.

Folklorico Inspired graduation cap

 

You know you dance folklorico if you rhinestone a picture of a folklorico dancers on your graduation cap.  Design courtesy of DG Designs.