Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Latin Stage Fever - Denver Part 2 - Week 27

Happy Independence Day Everyone!  Hope you all had an enjoyable Fourth Of July this week.  Here we are at Week 27, the beginning of the end so to speak.  Welcome to the second half of the One Big Wedo blog!  A special shout out to Malaysia who checked back in this week.  Where are the rest of the nations?  There's a whole section of the globe that hasn't checked out the blog yet.  It's time to get on board!  South America, Africa and Asia I'm talkin' to you!  There's only 26 week's left, no time to wait.  Keep spreading the word out there and help me reach readers!

Before we get to this week's topic, let's review the first half:

The First Quarter:

Week 1:  Getting Started
Week 2:  In The Beginning
Week 3:  The United States of Mexico
Week 4:  History In The Making!
Week 5:  What To Wear?
Week 6:  The Miracles Of Dancing
Week 7:  Show Time!
Week 8:  Who Am I?  A Personal Introduction
Week 9:  Three Challenges
Week 10:  What Is Folk Dancing?
Week 11:  I Believe In Herencia
Week 12:  The Tale Of Two Chinas
Week 13:  Competition Movie Time!

The Second Quarter:

Week 14:  Breaking The Language Barrier
Week 15:  Commitment Failures & Uncertainty
Week 16:  Heart & Sol
Week 17:  Ballet Vs. Danza?  What's The Deal?
Week 18:  Taking Inventory
Week 19:  Cinco De Mayo
Week 20:  Retrospective & Prospective
Week 21:  Images Of Mexico
Week 22:  The World Of Workshops
Week 23:  Man Up Or Sit Down!
Week 24:  Flaming Folklorico!
Week 25:  Veracruz Presented By Herencia Mexicana
Week 26:  Sizzling Sinaloa - Denver Part 1

Wow!  I am amazed.  Lots of fun folklorico themed reading for those who are interested.  Although I fell short of my 3000 pageview goal, I still appreciate everyone's support in sharing and promoting my blog.  Blogger does a great job of tracking everything and the top ten countries with readership thus far according to their ranking are as follows:

#1:  The United States
#2:  Germany
#3:  Russia
#4:  United Kingdom
#5:  France
#6:  Canada
#7:  South Korea
#8:  Bosnia and Herzegovina
#9:  Poland
#10:  Ukraine

Don't see your country listed?  Well, you can help change that!  Let's start a worldwide friendly competition!  You have 26 more weeks to get your country in the top 10 or to keep it there!  Ready, Get Set, Read On! 

As far as the top five all time most read posts thus far, here's how they rank:

#1:  Week 16 - "Heart & Sol"
#2:  Week 4 - "History In The Making!"
#3:  Week 21 - "Images Of Mexico"
#4:  Week 5 - "What To Wear?"
#5:  Week 2 - "In The Beginning"

Of course that could all change over the next several week's.  On week 52's wrap up, I'll let everyone know where everything ended up!

Have you "LIKED" One Big Wedo (Guero) on Facebook yet?  The "likes" are slowly climbing.  Log on and "like" me today.  Now, let's get down to business!

Week 27:  Latin Stage Fever - Denver Part 2:

According to online resources, The Denver Pridefest had an attendance of nearly 350,000 participants in 2012 and the number was expected to increase for this year's festival.  That's a lot of people!  So when Herencia Mexicana was invited to come, it was a huge honor.  Thank you for asking us!  The festival took place on June 15th and 16th in the downtown's centrally situated Civic Center Park which is at the corner of Colfax and Broadway amongst all the government buildings and monuments.  A lovely setting.  The beautiful city of Denver has to be ranked as one of the cleanest cities in America.  It quickly became one of my favorite places in the country.   

This was the fifth year for the festival to have a Latin stage.  The stage set in the lawn next to the McNichols building in the park.  The stage is titled "Orgullo Latino" and is "packed with the best in colorful, cultural entertainment from around the country" according to one online source.  The event is free to the public and is the third largest festival of its kind in the nation, providing a $25 million dollar economic impact to the City of Denver annually.  A big production.

On Saturday morning Richard and I got up early and headed over to the Denver International Airport to pick up the rest of the dance crew.  Then it was a rush back to The Curtis Hotel to pick up everyone else and head over to the event.

We arrived to the festival around 11:00 a.m., hauling all our costumes and accessories in hand to the dressing room.  On both Saturday and Sunday we performed two shows - One of Veracruz and the other Chihuahua.  Colorado loves its cowboys, so Chihuahua was a big hit.  As we got ourselves dressed in costume, DJ's pumped out the jams and other groups and performers worked the stage.  Our first show of the day - Veracruz.  The stage itself was nicely ordained with colorful stage set painted by a local artist.  Richard liked the stage so much that had they given us the set, he would have found a way to strap to the hood of the Sienna to bring it back home to Cali! 


Prior to the event, Herencia spent a small fortune on dry cleaning all the costumes, repairing any damaged lace on the dresses, replacing zippers and buttons and so on.  We wanted to look our very best.  Now, as I have mentioned in the past, something always seems to go wrong at every show.  What was it this time?  An uncooperative zipper.  Apparently, the zipper on one of the Veracruz dresses was so excited it decided to zip all the way up and off!  Well at least the dress was on for this show.  However, once it was taken off it wouldn't be zipped again.  Or would it? 

At about 1:00 pm in the afternoon we took the stage.  A large crowd gathered in the lawn to watch the show.  A sea of people.  Even the head organizer of the whole event came out for the show.  Also there in the audience was Monica, the Herencia alumni I spoke of last week.  She photographed and took video of our performance. 

Monica & Richard dancing Chihuahua together
Pancho Villa Ad featuring Monica

The audience enjoyed the show and their response was much like the performance the night before.  A genuine appreciation.  After our Veracruz show it was a rush back into the dressing room to change for the Chihuahua show.  Richard had contracted a good friend of his to make us two new Chihuahua dresses for this event, one pink and one blue.  He is a costume designer in Hollywood who makes spectacular costumes for the stage and screen.  However, our order got bumped, which left us in a predicament.  No dresses!  Oh No!  What to do?  Images of Mexico to the rescue.  Whew!

 Herencia Mexicana Chihuahua Costume
Images of Mexico Chihuahua Costume

Images Of Mexico allowed us to use three of their Chihuahua dresses for Denver.  The dresses are different from Herencia's style of Chihuahua dress.  There's are poofy!  Is poofy even a word?  How about "puffy" then!  In either case, the extra fluff made it a bit more challenging to dance with your partner.  At least I thought so.  It took some adjusting and getting use to.  Regardless, the Chihuahua show was a hit with the audience.  Many commented to me that they liked it over the Veracruz, although they were quick to say that both shows were nice.  Personally, I feel the shows in Denver were among the best shows Herencia has performed since I joined the group in 2011.  Many in the audience told other dancers that it was nice to see some their heritage and cultural roots represented in their local community and that they were taken back to their homeland - Mexico.  Awesome! 

 The Lawn
The Lawn Full Of People Prior To Our Shows 

After the show we headed back over to our hotel, refreshed and got ready for dinner.  We were treated to dinner that evening at Imperial Palace.  One word, "Delicious!" 

On Sunday, we did the whole routine over again!  Except this time the audience was even larger!  Joey Diamond was there to DJ and people really came out.  The Veracruz dress with the zipper had been repaired, or so we thought, but when it was put on the zipper busted again before it even got zipped up.  Never a break!  Under pressure, Richard went to work and somehow at the last minute he got the dress to zip as we were walking out of the dressing room and onto the stage.  What a save!  Note to self:  Burn the dress.


After our Veracruz set we dashed off stage to get ready for Chihuahua.  A mysterious wind kicked up and the weather turned.  The crowd thinned as people left.  But there was still an audience and we completed our last show in the wind.  At least we were cooler.  It was a hot weekend overall.  Ironically, two days later on July 18th, a tornado was spotted at the Denver International Airport.  Thank goodness we were already home at that point.  Timing is everything!

Right after we finished our last show, we changed and packed up the costumes and hit the road home.  It was about 2:30 in the afternoon.  We drove back the same way we came, passing all the famous ski villages and resorts that I dreamed about going to when I was a kid who loved to ski.  After ten tedious hours of driving we stopped for the night in Beaver, Utah.  Not much to do in Beaver but sleep.  However, some of the dancers came up with a fun way of entertaining themselves!

The trip wrapped up on Monday afternoon.  Everyone returned to their normal, everyday lives.  What an awesome experience.  When I returned the rental on Tuesday the odometer read trip mileage of 2309.8 miles.  Now that's some travelling!

Denver is known as the "Mile High" city.  There was some concern that the altitude may make it difficult to breath up there.  Add to the mix the physical activity of dancing and that spells exhaustion!  But the altitude really didn't have much of an affect as I anticipated.  I was more out of breath from being chunky!  Plus all the adrenalin provided a big boost of energy.  The feet were a tappin'.

Show organizers enjoyed and appreciated Herencia's performance that they told us we could come again next year.  What a compliment to be invited back!  Thank you.  Let's make it happen!  Richard has already been thinking about what he would do next year.  There are some things he would do differently.  If we end up going back I know I want to stay an extra day or two and go rafting down the Colorado River.  That should help with my "man" image!

For those of you on Facebook, you can visit the Unidos N Orgullo page and watch a short video clip that one of their followers posted on their timeline of the crowd at the Latin Stage dancing right before one of our performances.  You will see two of our dancers on stage in Chihuahua dresses dancing.  Check it out.  Good times!

There you have it, "Latin Stage Fever".  You can create some fever of your own by having Herencia Mexicana perform at your next Pride Festival or Latin Event.  Contact Richard to book your event.  His information is below. 

Does anyone have ideas or topics that they want me to address in the blog?  What have I missed?  Is there anything you have been wondering about in my experience?  I am open to suggestions and feedback.  Please contact me and let me know your thoughts.  My email is below.  Perhaps it will lead to the next great post!

In closing, I want to say "Congratulations" to all of my friends that performed last weekend at the Hollywood Bowl for the 24th Mariachi USA show.  I'm glad I got to go and experience it.  Until next week everyone, wedo out!


Contact Information for "The Big Wedo":

Google E-mail:
Facebook: One Big Wedo (Guero)
Twitter: Michael Smith @onebigwedo

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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