‘Fiestas de Mexico’ shows different styles of songs, dance

Mexico 2000 Ballet Folklorico performed to a small crowd in Ida Waldran auditorium Thursday night to portray the different styles of folklore dancing in Mexico.
The performance, called “Fiestas de Mexico,” showed off several different styles of dance from different states in Mexico.
Songs ranged from well-known songs such as “La Bamba” to mariachi music.
During the first songs, the women wore flowing white dresses. The songs featured fast stomping as a large part of the music. The first part of the performance, which featured music from the Mexican state of Veracruz, had the dancers performing “La Bamba” among other songs. Alex Palencia, director of the dance company along with his wife Mary Palencia, said “La Bamba” is a very traditional song performed at weddings and for couples.
“They tie a ribbon together to symbolize eternal love,” Palencia said.
The two danced the song and tied a ribbon by kicking it around until it was tied.
The final part of the performance featured mariachi music. The male performers wore green suits with big hats and the female performers wore multicolored dresses with black trim. The song mostly had themes of love and included many allusions to the dancers kissing. Colorful blankets were held up to hide the faces of the dancers while they pretended to kiss during the songs.
The program also featured songs from the states of Tamaulipas and Chiapas.
Chiapas is famous for the marimba, an instrument similar to the xylophone. Chiapas is also well-known for its cheerful sound and its mixture of native Mexican and Spanish roots. The song “Las Chiapenecas” is a familiar one to many Americans. The song was lively and encouraged audience members to interact with the music.
Many of the songs in the performance were about love and most were upbeat and happy. Many parts of the songs were filled with humor. During one song, a masked, hunched woman came on stage to separate the women and men from each other during a dance. After one of the men danced with her, she had a small change of heart, until she chased the dancers off the stage at the end of the song.
Throughout the performance, Palencia spoke about the different areas of Mexico and encouraged audience participation with shouts and clapping.
The performers stayed after the show to take pictures with audience members, many of whom enjoyed the program.
“It was really interesting, colorful, brilliant,” senior Doris Wong said.
Ballet Folklorico is a popular term for performances of regional folk dances. Each state in Mexico has its own distinctive type of ballet folklorico.
Mexico 2000 Ballet Folklorico was started in 1998 by Alex and Mary Palencia to educate people about the different styles of Mexican dance. The group is based in Garland, Texas and runs a dance school there. The group has won many awards for its programs. Former Garland Mayor Bob Day declared September, 2005 “Mexico 2000 Ballet Folklorico Month” in Garland. The group has competed in several national competitions, finishing second in the 2005 Folklorico Challenge USA.
The performance was part of UCA’s recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, which also included the Amigo Cup Soccer tournament held Saturday and Sunday.
The performance was sponsored by Multicultural Student Service, the Minority Mentorship Program and SGA.

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