Baile folklorico is a traditional Mexican dance that combines local folk culture with ballet characteristics in colorful attire. After several successful years of teaching baile folklorico to students at Rancho High School, the group Ballet Folklorico Sol Huasteco was created as an expansion of the program.
Following a year of performing various events throughout Las Vegas, Ballet Folklorico Sol Huasteco is scheduled to have its first formal show at the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 McLeod Drive, at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25.
“It will basically be like taking the audience on a tour around Mexico,” said Jacquelyn Guzman, director of Ballet Folklorico Sol Huasteco and Ballet Folklorico Sol de Rancho. “We’re telling stories that are more antique with a theme surrounding the dreams and memories of our people.”
The show is set to present six different regions from Mexico as it tells corridos or popular narrative songs or ballads about the Aztecs and Mexican people during the revolution.
Rancho High School’s Ballet Folklorico Sol de Rancho is also scheduled to join the performance.
“It was mainly in response to the students who graduated from Rancho High School and didn’t want to stop dancing,” Guzman said. “I combined the two groups for a bit and finally got enough members to break off into our own proper group.”
Former teacher Gabriela Steger started Ballet Folklorico Sol de Rancho approximately 10 years ago, Guzman said. Guzman took over Steger’s position six years ago when she was recruited to the school as a folklorico specialist from Arizona.
Guzman said that every folklorico dance group has its own style. She teaches her students a more traditional style that incorporates complicated steps and rhythm with a conservative skirt movement.
Guzman, who has been dancing for more than 20 years, said she fell in love with performing after watching her stepbrother’s girlfriend dance on stage.
“I fell in love with it when I was 10 years old and I haven’t stopped dancing since,” Guzman said. “When I’m performing, I feel alive. I forget everything else. I love seeing that feeling transformed into my students.”
The group is made up of 12 members, who range from teenagers to adults. Guzman said the group is largely composed of students and graduates from Rancho High School, but it is open to anyone interested in joining.
Janette Bravo, 20, has been performing with the group for three years. She started performing when she was a student at Rancho High School and has since continued because of the emotional passion she feels when she is on stage.
“I love the feeling that we get when we’re dancing on stage and we can see the excitement of the audience who is proud of us for showing off our culture to the community,” Bravo said.
The group’s name was inspired by La Huasteca region in Mexico, which includes the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosi and Queretaro. As a second-generation American, Guzman sees the importance of connecting people with their culture.
“It’s a region that embodies multiple cultures, people and values,” Guzman said. “It is similar to our dance group. Some of us are from California, Arizona or Las Vegas and we have family in Sinaloa or Jalisco. Since we’re diverse, we wanted a diverse area to call ourselves after.”
Mariachi Mexico Antiguo and Mariachi Aires de Mexico plan to provide live music during the performance.
Adam Romo, director of both mariachi groups, said members range from 10 to 23 years old and will be performing older musical favorites and modern songs.
“We’re looking forward to performing,” Romo said. “The members are really enthusiastic and dedicated to the music.”
Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 on concert day. For more information, call 702-455-7340.
“I want to let people know that our culture isn’t dead yet,” said folklorico member Jose Corral, 18, student at Rancho High School. “Dancing with the group makes me feel proud of who I am. This group is going somewhere. I see big things for us.”
Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter Sandy Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4686.