Cultural ballet takes center stage

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Try tying a bow while dancing on stage, only using your feet. The dancers in “Ballet Folkorico Quetzalli de Veracruz” end their performance like this every night.

They will present a show at UW-Whitewater for one night only, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 18, in the Young Auditorium.

The ballet features 12 dancers and special guest stars Tlen-Huicani will perform live music on stage.

Artist representative for the ballet Steve Heath said each performer has been dancing for years, and each piece of the ballet can take several months to learn.

Campos

Pilar Melero, associate professor in the Languages and Literature Department at UW-Whitewater, said because these are professional dancers, they would put in as much time practicing as any other professional would do in his or her field.

“Like any type of dance, they start as children and have been practicing all their life,” Melero said.

Current UW-W student and the director of Admira La Musica de Las Americas Erika Campos said she has been learning folkloric dance since she was five.

Campos says dance plays a huge role in the culture of Mexico.

“It is a way of expressing ourselves, showing our history, our traditions and customs,” Campos said. “It is a big part of our beautiful culture.”

Melero said dance is important, but is only one aspect of the culture.

Melero said folkloric dances “give you a taste of different parts of Mexico,” because each part of Mexico has its own culture, like the United States has its own cultures in each region of the country.

LaMuro

Leslie LaMuro, marketing director of the Young Auditorium, agreed with Melero when asked about having Ballet Folklorico perform at UW-W the last few years.

“We did have a similar Ballet Folklorico from Colombia last year, and this one is from Veracruz,” LaMuro said. “Which they are totally different places in the world, it may seem like they’re similar, but they’re not.”

Heath said folkloric dance was a great representation of traditions that have been going on in the country for centuries.

With traditional dances from all around Mexico, the performers will also need to wear traditional costumes.

“A lot of times they will actually have to go to the region the dance comes from to get the costume, because they’re very specialized,” Heath said. “So they’ll go there and purchase them from craftsmen who have been doing it for a long time.”

Pilar said it is always beneficial to learn about different cultures but ever more beneficial to learn about cultures you interact with on a daily basis.

Campos said she is proud to be Mexican because of the culture.

“The Mexican culture is tremendous,” Campos said. “Personally, I am very proud to be Mexican. I love Mexican folkloric dance because it had made who I am today, and it is part of my future goal to someday have a group of my own and teach other young kids about the rich Mexican culture.”

“Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli de Veracruz” is a performance that will introduce students to a culture most know little about.

Campos encouraged everyone to attend this event, because it is a rare opportunity to see at such a good price.

“Tickets to see such performances are extremely expensive, because the dancers put a lot of work into getting ready beforehand,” Campos said. “It may look easy, but it really isn’t.”

Heath said everyone would find something to enjoy.

“We promise you’ll have a good time,” Heath said.