Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dancing At Disney California Adventure - Week 37

In the midst of summer, another invitation came from Ballet Folklorico Sol de Mexico to join them for a couple of their upcoming performances.  You may recall my first account of performing with them back on week 16 in a post called "Heart & Sol".  That post holds the rank as the #2 all time most read blog post.  Anyway, first up on the calendar this time, Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, California.  So Richard and I found ourselves once again at practices at the Sol studio in Riverside, California on Monday nights.  There was just one catch, they wanted me to dance Jalisco!

Now, if you have followed my blog, you know how I am challenged with Jalisco.  You also know my rule of dancing regions with other dance groups that I dance with BF Herencia Mexicana.  Why?  Because learning multiple variations of the same dance for the same region can lead to confusion!  What to do?  Break the rule!  Alright I'll do it!  Besides, the best thing you can do for something you struggle with is to tackle it head on.  Right?  I was up to the challenge.  Plus, I haven't had a performance since Colorado and this was Disney after all.  You can't pass up an opportunity like that!  And I had never been to California Adventure either.  Besides, it was only two dances to completely different music arrangements, so I accepted the invite.  Have I justified myself enough?  Thank you Sol for the invite and this fun filled opportunity!

Between practices with BF Sol de Mexico, BF Herencia Mexicana and Images Of Mexico, along with the heat in the warehouse, I lost some weight!  The week before the show I got my official BF Sol de Mexico T-shirt, Size Large!  Not XL or XXL!  Whoop Whoop!  I feel official and skinny!  The best compliment I got from the show was that my stomach looked flat in my charro!  That made my day!  I was so flat-tered by the compliment!  Of course, that didn't deter me from visiting Ghirardelli Chocolates at the park.  They give out free samples by the way!

Since September was booking up with lots of performances, it was time for some new dance boots to perform in.  I have been using the same pair since I started this journey back in 2011 and they are worn and dull.  Folklorico boots can be costly.  Rather than buying the more expensive Miguelito's or Duran dance boots, I went with the Karina's Dance Shoes brand.  They're more affordable and are durable.  Plus, when you are dancing all over the place for both private and public events, a lot of times you end up dancing on concrete which eats your boots up quick.  Which means you have to replace them more often.  So Karina's are the shoes for me!

Here are some photos of my new boots. Aren't they nice and shiny?  Let's see how long that lasts!  I kept my old boots for practices.  Might as well keep them around until they are completely shot and fall right off my feet!  I want to get my monies worth!  My new boots are for performances only!  My new black boots were christened at Disney, now that's a great start!  

I don't think I've ever shared with readers the boots themselves in detail.  Folklorico boots are a form of musical instrument in my opinion.  The dancer creates music with them as they tap away!  What causes the noise?  Nails!  That's right, nails!  Check it out, the heel and toe of the boots are nailed to death!  That's what creates all the sounds when you are dancing!  There are all kinds of foot movements, steps and tricks to cause the sound to vary.  Maestros "tap" into this possibility to create masterful musical dance art.  And you just thought we were all just stompin' our feet!  There is a skill and artistry to it!

Back to Disney!  The Disney Community Arts Showcase is a program that the theme parks offer to Southern California performers of various kinds - dancers, singers, musicians and the like.  The program is a fun opportunity for groups to present their material at the park to an audience composed of visitors and locals.  Several folklorico groups have participated in this program.  Not surprising, as folklorico is part of the Greater LA and So. Cal culture and visitors here typically want to experience the local culture as part of their vacations!

The day began bright and early!  The park opened at 9 am sharp and we were there ready!  We had a few hours of free time until showtime, so we did the whole park thing!  Here's some pictures of our California Adventure adventure!  I really enjoyed my first visit to the park!  My first purchase of the day?  A hat!  All that white turns red in the sun!

There are so many more Disney characters now than when I was a kid.  What ever happened to Chip and Dale?  Are they still around?  Guess Richard could be Chip and I will be Dale.  Together we'd make Chippendales!  Now there's a show for you!  But not at Disney!  It's all about family entertainment!

As showtime neared, we all met together and took a group photo before heading backstage to get dressed for our performance.  Check it out:

Once backstage, we were told no personal photos were to me taken.  However, Disney's photographer took this photo of us right before we headed out to the stage!  See if you can spot me in the picture!

The show took place on the Hollywood Backlot Stage.  Our time slot:  12:50pm! Fortunately, the stage is nicely covered and away from direct sunlight.  It was still toasty however.  Not even the daily heat endurance test at the warehouse was enough to prepare me.  Heat zaps your energy away, let me tell you!  Even still, it didn't stop us and the show went well.  

Sol presented the regions of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Jalisco.  Here are some pictures of my performance of the Jalisco closing of the show.  So thrilled to have this experience!  Sol uses blue bow ties and a sash as part of the charro ensemble!

I've mentioned in a previous post how much I enjoy Sol's Baja dances.  Add their Tamaulipas dances to that list!  Choreographer Stevan Flores did an amazing job on these dances.  Great movement and use of the stage and I really was captivated by them.  Perhaps, I'll get a chance to perform them one day with their group!  Herencia dances the Tamaulipas region, but not these specific dances, so we're safe!

After the show we exited the stage, changed, the rest of the day was ours!  But before we took off, Disney presented the group with this plaque for their participation in the program.  Thank you Disney!  There are some additional potential performances for me coming up between now and the end of the year at Disney.  I will be sure to keep everyone informed.  "Like" my Facebook page "One Big Wedo - Guero" to get performance notices and Big Wedo photos!  

As I shared last week, Disney animator Cynn Marie sketched this drawing of me at the park.  Wanted to reshare it just in case some of you missed last week's post.  If you did, well go back and read it!  Don't miss out!

As I also mentioned in last week's post, I performed with Ballet Folklorico Mi Tierra at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood, California on Sunday for the Festival Colimense.  There were some Latin celebrities there and the show was televised on Estrella TV.  Here are some photos from the show!  This was my first time dancing with Ballet Folklorico Mi Tierra and I thought my personal performance ranked right up there among my own personal best!  It was my first time performing Colima as well !

I wanted to recommend a Facebook page.  Visit and "Like" Dia de Los Muertos USA.  This is a new event coming to Cochella Valley in November 2014.  I found some of their posts and links interesting.  You might also!  Check it out.

I want to personally thank all the people who have contributed to all my blogging success by sharing and promoting/recommending my blog.  Also, thanks to all the media websites and pages that have endorsed it as well. Brazil checked in this week!  Welcome!  My hope is that I contribute to the overall general interest in this fun art form and spark people's interest in learning more and perhaps, trying it out themselves!

Best moment of the weekend?  Performing, yes!  But the best was a little boy who came to talk to me at the show who was in awe of my height.  As I stood there in my charro suit, his mother encouraged him to take an interest in folklorico too.  Mission accomplished!  Perhaps I just found my replacement!  Awesome!  

In closing, I want to share this picture of "the shoe"!  Now I have told readers that something always seems to happen that you didn't anticipate at every show.  For this dancer at Disney, it was a broken heel!  During the course of dancing, it snapped right off!  Wow!  Better a folklorico shoe than Cinderella's glass slippers!  That would have been a disaster!  Until next week my peeps, 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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