Friday, June 28, 2013

Sizzling Sinaloa - Denver Part 1 - Week 26

WEEK 26!  Hurray!  Half way done!  Hope everyone enjoyed last week's post on Veracruz.  As I was at home this week I noticed that my Yankee candle I light frequently was "Veracruz Vanilla" scent.  I also have a little Veracruz figurine of a dancer sitting on my dresser.  Here I have been surrounded by Veracruz at home this whole time!  No wonder I wrote about it!  I'm hoping to add more photos of Herencia dancing Veracruz to the blog in the future.  Make sure to check back for photo updates!

Welcome Finland to the blog.  Thanks for checking out One Big Wedo!  I would also like to welcome back India as well.  It's nice to have you along for the journey.  Let's see if I make it to my 3000 pageviews goal by next week.  I will be kicking off the second half of One Big Wedo next week with "Latin Stage Fever - Denver Part 2", so be sure to come back and read the rest of the story.  This week I will be sharing the first part of the Denver experience.  I call it "Sizzling Sinaloa".

Sizzling Sinaloa!

Earlier this year in April, Herencia Mexicana received an invitation to perform in Denver, Colorado for the 2013 Pridefest on the Latin stage.  Three couples stepped up to the plate to go and perform.  Practices began to learn two shows - one of Veracruz and the other Chihuahua.  Herencia practiced late into the evenings from 9 pm to 11 pm several nights a week to prepare.  Everyone really stepped up their commitment.  It was exhausting, but worth all the effort as opportunities like this are rare.

As the event got closer, an additional performance was added for the night before the festival.  It was a kick off show for the weekend's events at El Potrero Night Club in Glendale, Colorado.  Herencia was asked to perform a ten minute show to showcase what we would be providing as entertainment on the Latin Stage the following two days.  This was Herencia's first night club gig which took place at 1 am in the morning.  More on that in a bit.

I have called this trip the start of the Herencia National Tour.  However, in order for the tour to continue, we need more big shows across the nation, so contact Richard to book Herencia for your local Latin Festival or Pride Event.  A lot of planning, practicing and coordination went into this trip.  Although expenses were covered, cost savings was an important factor.  It was decided that we should drive the costumes to Denver rather than send them on the plane.  All that luggage would have racked up a grip of extra luggage fees.  So a Toyota Sienna was rented to transport the costumes to Denver.

After picking up the rental and loading it up, we made a pit stop to Olvera Street to purchase some hats for our performance.  While there, I decided I wanted to buy something of traditional and cultural significance to put in our vehicle before we took off on our trip.  Perhaps I could start a new Herencia tradition as well.  I purchased this beautiful woven Virgin Mary and beaded cross rosary to hang from the mirror of our vehicle.  She travelled with us the whole time and should Herencia travel more in the future, she will go with us again as well.  Ironically after we returned home, I accidentally left her hanging in to rental after we returned it.  However, she made it back to us safe and sound through the mail.  A new tradition saved from disaster.  I suppose it was meant to be.

Depending on the dancer's work schedules, it was determined who would fly and who would ride along to Denver.  On July 13, 2013 after we loaded up the Sienna we picked up some of the dancers and at 4:30 pm we took off for Denver.  Can someone say "Road Trip!"  We drove up the 15 Freeway passing Las Vegas, Nevada, then proceeded in the darkness of night into Arizona through the Virgin River Gorge and then into Utah.  In Utah we connected onto I-70 west.  After 10 long hours we stopped for the night in Richfield, Utah for some much needed rest.  Early on July 14th we resumed our travels and pushed on to Denver going through beautiful desert wilderness landscapes, passing National Parks, mountain resorts, driving alongside the Colorado River as rafters floated by, through tunnels and valleys, past Georgetown, Colorado and at about 5 pm we arrived in Denver and checked into our wonderful hotel with deluxe accommodations on the 16th floor, The Curtis. 


Dinner that evening was shared with a Denver local resident and alumni of Herencia Mexicana at a delicious pizza restaurant called Beau Jo's.  What's so special about Beau Jo's pizza?  I'm glad you asked.  Honey!  They give you honey to put on your pizza crust and wow, let me tell you, it is amazing.  Try it.  At dinner we also got to meet a new addition to the world and hopefully, a future Herencian! 

After dinner it was time to get ready for our big show.  We headed back to The Curtis so everyone could shower and get ready - make up, last minute costume detailing and dance review.  Then we were off to El Potrero Night Club for our Denver debut.  I was nervous.  We arrived to the club and they set us up in the dressing room area with all the performers for that evenings show.  What a production!  Definitely an experience.  Our arrival at the club was greeted by a huge poster advertising Herencia, hanging on the wall just inside the door.  Talk about publicity!  After our performance, as we left the club that night, we asked if we could have the poster as a memento souvenir.  They gave it to us so we took it off the wall, rolled it up and brought it home!  Thank you!

As I mentioned earlier, this performance was an add on.  We had been working hard and practicing for our shows for the Latin stage.  On Monday June 10th, Richard added two Sinaloa dances for this event.  Banda Palma was on the advertisement to perform at the club, so he felt that Sinaloa would be best for the club environment.  Now it's no secret that I don't like to learn dances at the last minute.  I am a perfectionist and don't like to be rushed.  This was no exception.  I have this strong fear of looking bad on stage.  I really want to look good and do the dances well.  Moody with a twist of fear and a dash of stress is not a good combination.  In fact, it spells melt down!  And for a brief moment there was some irritating drama as I was frustrated and stressed over learning a completely new region for immediate performing.  Yes, the wedo can be difficult under pressure.  Imagine that!  But somehow we managed through it and the show went well.

Anyways, back to the story, once in the dressing room chaos ensued as performers dashed in and out for quick costume changes.  The show moved along rather quickly.  Lots of high energy dance routines and music for all the acts.  Was the audience going to like traditional folk dancing after so many high energy routines?  We were all a little concerned.  Our costumes were so modest in comparison to the other performers.  No time to dwell, we had to get ready.  We got all dressed up and it was show time.  The first dance was a ladies solo number then for the second dance the men joined in.  As the woman went out on the stage we held our breath on the sidelines to see if the audience was going to accept it.  A sigh of relief came as the audience began to cheer.  All was good.  They loved it.  Richard in his folklorico wisdom had made a good choice to dance Sinaloa for this event.

The second number started up and Richard and I darted onto the stage portray bulls and chasing after the ladies.  The crowd roared as we danced our hearts out at that insane hour.  Clapping and cheering was all I could hear and it was all over as quickly as it started.  We took our bows and the show was over.  Now we could relax and focus on our performances for the Latin stage over the next two days.  More on those next week!  Banda Palma took the stage and closed the night with music until 2 in the morning.  We commuted back to our hotel and knocked out.  It was a full, long day.

I would have to say that the experience was amazing.  People in the audience really, really appreciated it.  I think that in Southern California we are so spoiled with an abundance of folklorico performances, that people become numb to it.  We are so close to the border here and there's so many groups.  Every weekend all over the Los Angeles area several folklorico performances take place.  When something is that common it loses its impact.  We transplanted ourselves to Denver and it was a completely different experience.  People were engaged and loving it.  I hope to have many more show experiences out of state.

As far as the Sinoloa costumes are concerned, the red and yellow shirts we used came from Phoenix, Arizona.  I had purchased them over a year ago in Phoenix while on vacation at a Western Wear store there.  When I bought them I had no intention of them being used as costuming.  I thought I would wear them for going out.  But they were a purchase on a whim and they are really too bold for me to wear out.  Thus they became costuming for Herencia.  I think they work perfectly.

Richard does not allow Herencia dancers to wear piercings or show tattoos on stage.  This is something that many dancers have feuded with him over.  His opinion is that folklorico represents a period of time when people did not cover their bodies with tattoos and piercings.  It wasn't part of the culture at the time.  So typically, dancers are asked to remove all piercing jewelry and cover up tattoos with skin tone make up or clothing.  On this rare occasion, he allowed them, due to the nature of the event.  A first for Herencia.   


Here is what Wikipedia says about Sinaloa:

"Sinaloa, officially Free and Sovereign State of Sinaloa (Spanish:  Estado Libre y Soberano de Sinaloa), is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico.  It is divided into 18 municipalities and its capital city is Culiacan Rosales. 

It is located in Northwestern Mexico.  It is bordered by the states of Sonora to the north, Chihuahua and Durango to the east (separated from them by the Sierra Madre Occidental) and Nayarit to the south.  To the west, Sinaloa has a significant share of coastline on the Gulf of California.

The state covers an area of 57,377 square kilometers (22,153 sq mi), and includes the Islands of Palmito Verde, Palmito de la Virgen. Altamura, Santa Maria, Saliaca, Macapule and San Ignacio.

In addition to the capital city, the state's important cities include Mazatlan and Los Mochis."

As far as regional dancing, here is what The Mexican Folkloric Dance Company of Chicago and Jose Luis Ovalle states:

"Sinaloa is a very prosperous modern state and the cradle of some of Mexico's most venerated performers such as Lola Beltrán and Pedro Infante. However, aside from a few indigenous and mestizo interpretations, the state did not have a formal regional dance form until the early 1970's. The efforts of local choreographers and the findings of some impromptu research resulted in the staging of what became Mexico's "banda" style in the 1990's. The music — loud, violent, and explosive — was itself a very recent inspiration of composer Luis Pérez Meza and Don Cruz Lizárraga who founded the famous "Banda Sinaloense del Recodo".

In its humble beginnings, in the mid 40's the banda was only hired as entertainment in local bars or — as with Zacatecas' Tamborazo — to lead a drinking party down the streets of the port of Mazatlán. The exhilirating ambiance created by the thundering ensemble soon became Sinaloa's favorite. By taking Don Lizárraga's banda de viento into recording studios this banda style won incredible acceptance in the entire country. Aside from typical ranchero songs and sones, the repertoire of a banda embraces all imaginable rhythms including the mambo, and even 1960's rock and roll.

The costume is also recent, as the dance forms, but based on turn-of-the-century fashions. Its fabrication goes from very simple printed calico ruffled blouse and skirt, topped with a hat, to muslin dresses painted with regional symbols. The main dance style, as indicated by all modern research of this Pacific area, is inspired by the Jalisco sones. Although many variations have been included, reflecting the integration old popular tunes and songs from the 60's Mexican hit parade into the banda Sinaloense repertoire."

In Closing:

Thank you to Diego Carrillo Photography and Unidos N Orgullo for posting all the pictures on Facebook of our performance.  Visit the Unidos N Orgullo Facebook page to view all the photos from this event.  You can also check out Diego Carrillo Photography on Facebook as well.

On a side note, I did not dye my goatee.  I made several trips to the store with the intent of purchasing my Just For Men cover up and every time it slipped my mind.  Wasn't meant to happen.  I darkened it in instead.  It must be meant for me to be known as "Father Folklorico" or something.  Be sure to come back and visit next week for the rest of the story.  Until then, wedo out!

Contact Information for "The Big Wedo":

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Contact Information for Ballet Folklorico de Herencia Mexicana:

Richard Solorzano, Director: (909) 201-1957
Facebook: Herencia Mexicana

Note: Looking for your own adventure or journey? Herencia is a great place to find one!  Folklorico lessons and performances are both available. Herencia Mexicana performs for private & public events of all kinds. Book your event today! Herencia Mexicana welcomes new students. No previous folklorico or dance experience required.
All are welcome.

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