Way back when, as a young dancer I mistakenly thought that all the folklorico dances that I learned came from communities of people. It was until I entered graduate school that I realized that many of these dance were created specifically for the stage by Mexican choreographers. Many times the Mexican government sought ways to distinctly represent every state of Mexico through music and dance.
For example, the bailes mestizos of Sinala were choreographed for the stage in the 1930s by the Maestra Rosa Andrade along with musician Don Cuco Soto. Maestros of Aguascalientes also created their own dances to represent the characteristics of their communities. So, la Pelea De Gallos was composed by Juan S. Garrido in 1945. This song was extremely popular within the community of Aguascalientes and adopted by the people. The first choreographers of this dance worked in collaboration. These teachers were María Elene Cardona, Asunción Gutiérrez and Jesús Velasco in 1962. Other choreographed dances from Aguascalientes include: Danza de Ferrocarrileros, Son Vista Alegre, and Danza de Bordadoras.1 Of course we can’t forget Amalia Hernandez who used the corridos, melodies, and rhythms of the Revolutionary era (1910-1920) to create an entire suite of dances paying tribute to the men and women who lost their lives and fought during this time period.2
I argue that these choreographed dances have been accepted into the repertoire of folklorico dance companies throughout Mexico and the United States oftentimes without realizing that they are inspired by a community of people and not derived from them. Now, as folklorico dance practitioners I think it is important that we recognize these types of dances that were choreographed specifically for the stage. We also need to give credit to the work of Mexican choreographers who inspired our performances. I also want to encourage dance practitioners living in the United States to create your own dances about our own communities using folklorico movement techniques. I know that there are a handful of us already doing just that. In what ways does your community inspire you to create your own folklorico dances?
- Angulo, Gabriel Uriarte, and Alicia Montaňo Villalobos. Danzas y Bailed de Sinaloa. Mexico: Colegio de Bachilleres del Estado de Sinaloa, 2000. Print.
Asociación Nacional de Grupos Folklóricos 25 Congreso. 4-11 July. 1998, Aguacalientes, Mexico.
- Aguirre, Gabriela, and Felipe Segura Escalona. El Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández. Mexico: Fomento Cultural Banamex, 1994. Print.
All photos courtesy of Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia
Copyright, 9/13/2017, Mendoza-Garcia
Gabriela Mendoza-García Ph.D. is an Artist and Scholar. She has her own dance school and company called the Gabriela Mendoza-García Ballet Folklórico in Laredo, Texas. Dr. Mendoza-Garcia founded this group in 2013 and teaches children and adults of all ages. Her company consists of seasoned folklórico dancers with years of experience performing this art form. She teaches traditional Mexican folklórico dance pieces, as well as, works that are inspired by her scholarly research. Her scholarship includes: Dancing throughout Mexican History (1325-1910), History & Folklore booklet with an accompanying documentary sponsored by the Webb County Heritage Foundation, The Jarabe Tapatío: Imagining Race, Nation, Class and Gender in 1920s Mexico published by Oxford University Press, an on-line blog, writings for Asociación Nacional de Grupos Folklóricos, and others.
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