Thank you for reading my blog! Back on week 10 I wrote a post called "What Is Folk Dancing?", on week 13 I wrote a post called "Competition Movie Time" and on week 17 I wrote a post called "Ballet Vs. Danza". If you are reading the blog for the first time, I would recommend going back and reading these three posts as there is a lot of foundational information in them which I hope to build upon in this week's post "Modern Folklorico Dancing!" However, if you don't have the time to review, you'll still enjoy this week's read.
Folk dancing has existed for a long, long time. It has become a popular art form in current society and is embraced in many settings as a form of viewing entertainment and cultural presentation. From its humble beginnings, it has evolved, developing into a vast array of portrayals and expressions. So what are the roots of the modern folklorico movement we see today? Let's go exploring and find where the modern forms of Mexican folk dance stem.
In the 1950s, lifelong resident of Mexico City, Amalia Hernandez (September 1,1917 - November 5, 2000), played a significant role in formalizing and popularizing the art form we call folklorico, or ballet folklorico. Hernandez founded her group, Ballet Folklorico de Mexico in 1952 and established the first school completely dedicated to the art of ballet folklorico in 1968 in Mexico City called the Folkloric Ballet School.
Mexican President Adolfo Lopez Mateos was a fan of Amalia's group and endorsed it, allowing her to perform Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings at The Palace Of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Along with this notoriety and her television exposure, momentum rapidly picked up and caught the attention of the Mexican Department of Tourism, which assisted her launching the group on a national scale. The dance company toured throughout the world, including a performance for U.S. President John F. Kennedy. The company has gone on to perform over 15,000 times and reaching an overall audience of 22 million people.
Today, as the dance form has evolved with all its deviations and variations, you see a wide arrange of presentations. Originality is encouraged. Every folklorico group wants to make their group special in some unique and self defining way. How do they make themselves stand out? They build upon a foundation that was set by Amalia and Rafael. Today, you see groups alter costuming, accessories, colors and so on. Dance choreography has changed and stylizing emphasized. Details to make the group original, yet rooted.
Back during my days in music conservatory, my teacher would ask me to describe my voice, my style, my sound and so on. She wanted me to know what made me special and unique. Why? Because that's what I had to offer the world that was mine. Not everyone may like it, but it was my contribution that no one else had (or has). She would tell me to sing it like Michael Smith, not Michael Jackson. Let Michael Jackson be Michael Jackson, you be Michael Smith. You have to know your niche and market and sell that. You are your own product.
That's what all these television shows like American Idol and the like, are trying to discover. A unique product. Someone who can sing a known song and make it their own and still appeal to the masses. Something fresh and different. Why do I bring this up? Because I have witnessed how harsh and critical groups and dancers have been judged by others in the field for stepping out and being different.
Welcome, welcome, welcome all my new readers! Thank you for taking the time to spend a few minutes with the Wedo! My Facebook fan page blew up this week as well with over 60 new friends! I love it! This week alone One Big Wedo reached a global audience with readers from Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States. I am amazed and very excited - the list keeps growing! Thank you to all the blog writing groups that have accepted me into their circles. Keep sharing and spreading the word out there so others can discover the blog and enjoy it too. A world tour may just become a reality! Any dancers out there want to join me?
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.