May 052010
Authors: Allison Welter

The CSU honors seminar “Move It!” got a taste of Mexican culture in a tutorial and performance session by native Mexican dancers Wednesday morning.

Last Friday, a group of teenage members of the Ballet Folklorico de Casa Hogar Los Angelitos program flew into Colorado from Manzanillo, Mexico to perform Folkloric dance from various regions throughout Mexico.

“For me, it’s very important that young people from other countries know the traditions of the Mexican culture,” said Juan Cruz Martinez, the director of dance for Casa Hogar Los Angelitos.

Casa Hogar Los Angelitos is an orphanage and children’s home in Manzanillo. The group Ballet Folklorico is part of an educational program for the children’s home, but two years ago the group was opened to youth from the community as well, said Nancy Nystrom, the founder.

Francie Glycenfer, a faculty member for the university honors program, teaches the seminar.

The seminar aims to emphasize the rich resource of everyday movement and dance in daily life, Glycenfer said in an e-mail to the Collegian. Glycenfer, an award-winning choreographer, enjoyed the experience the group was able to provide.

“I enjoyed the expertise and the high level of performance skill as well as the authenticity,” Glycenfer said.

Nystrom, who also translated for the group, emphasized how in touch the dance group is with its Mexican dance heritage. Martinez, who has 20 years experience teaching, choreographs the dances and designs the costumes for performance.

In addition, all costumes and dances are true to the region from which they originated and tell a story. One dance, performed by dancers Nora Vicente and Ishmael Rodriguez, was from the region of Vera Cruz.

“I like the community with the other people, the opportunity to participate in important events and teach or show others the culture of Mexico,” Vicente said.

The dancers came to Colorado for the week of Cinco de Mayo, a holiday commemorating the defeat of the French by Mexico in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla.

“We chose this week because we knew people would be celebrating Mexico and Mexican culture,” Nystrom said.

Little celebration of Cinco de Mayo occurs in Mexico outside of Puebla. In America, Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration of Mexican-American culture said Ernesto Sagás, associate professor of ethnic studies.

“Cinco de Mayo can be one way for people of all diverse cultures to come together and enjoy food, music, dance and learn a little more about Mexican history,” said Rich Salas, assistant director of El Centro.

Ballet Folklorico is in its second year coming to Colorado to perform and hopes to return Sept. 16, the actual date of Mexican independence, Nystrom said.

Staff Writer Allison Welter can reached at

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