Club tries to keep Mexican folklore alive

In News

In rich and vivid garments, they spun and turned while rhythmically tapping on hardwood floors, telling a story of a northern region in Mexico.

Christopher Sandoval, junior liberal studies major was surprised to find that Cal State Fullerton had no ballet folklorico club on campus while UCLA and Cal Poly Pomona have had clubs established for years.

As a result Ballet Folklorico de CSUF was created.

Ballet Folklorico de CSUF is one of the newest officially recognized clubs on campus this semester. It is temporarily advised by Esiquio Uballe, associate dean of student life, and primarily directed by Sandoval.

The club plans to teach its members how to dance ballet folklorico along with the history behind each dance. Their meetings will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at different locations throughout the semester.

Ballet Folklorico was a term coined by Amalia Hernandez, a Mexican dancer and choreographer. In 1952, she created her own dance company – Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, inspired by the essence of Mexican folklore.

Hernandez’ company was built “to promote the study and preservation of traditional music and dance throughout Mexico,” according to the company’s Web site.

Similar to Hernandez, Sandoval said he plans on reaching out to the student body to explore the history of Mexico through its dances.

The idea of this club originated about two semesters ago by Sandoval and Yesenia Lopez, junior kinesiology major. Both Titans, who had professional ballet folklorico backgrounds, did their research, did the logistics and made their vision become a reality.

“What are we? Thirty percent Hispanic here at CSUF? And to realize that we don’t have a ballet folklorico, a mariachi, a salsa group or anything. A ballet folklorico group should at least be here,” said Sandoval, president of Ballet Folklorico de CSUF.

Indeed, Sandoval was relatively on target in reference to the percentage of Hispanics at CSUF. Last semester about 28 percent of students enrolled reported from Hispanic or Chicano ethnicity, according to the Office of Institutional and Analytical Studies Web site.

“Cal State Fullerton is considered a Hispanic-serving institution,” Uballe said.

However, Ballet Folklorico de CSUF does not only plan to reach out to Latinos on campus, but anyone who is interested in learning about the Mexican culture, said Sandoval.

Sandoval along with his three board members will begin teaching basic footwork, posture and technique.

Although no fee is required to join the club, anyone who plans on participating is recommended to bring proper footwear. Women are encouraged to bring folklorico heels and men are encouraged to bring folklorico boots.

“There’s so much to learn. Every dance from a certain region has a story,” Sandoval said. “Ballet Folklorico is not just a group that stomps a lot . We’re out there to do it too for the community. It’s a cultural awareness.”

Two CSUF students, Joanna Gayton, junior art major, and Ahmicqui Bribiescas, freshman anthropology major, are excited for this new club.

Gayton remembers dancing to ballet folklorico for two years at the very young age of five. Bribiescas also started dancing early on at four years old in a friend’s of her family’s dance company. She now wants to continue dancing and pursue it further.

Uballe said Ballet Folklorico de CSUF will have a positive response on campus. The Student of Academic Affairs Department encourages students not only to expand their mind academically, but culturally too.

While the club is only at its beginning stages, Sandoval has ambitious goals for it. By fall semester, Sandoval wants a performing group and by the next spring semester, the club hopes to begin touring to different venues.

The club will have its first meeting today at the Becker Amphitheatre.

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