I’ve been dancing Mexican Folklórico since the age of 20. Yes, I started late. Most people I speak to mention starting when they are eight or nine… and some even younger! Mine was a rocky love affair when I started dancing the traditional style of dance from Mexico.
I had seen folklórico dance all my life: in elementary school, at public functions, in the park… I even remember when I would visit Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, as a child, the matachines would parade down the street early Sunday mornings.
But in my mind, all this traditional dancing was about the past. I really think that when I was young, I would see Mexico and all its rich traditions as my past; thus, old history that was neither important nor relevant to my life.
I was truly an Americanized boy that focused on the future. I didn’t want to focus on the past. So whenever I saw folklórico dancers, I would leave to do something else.
So imagine my surprise when a friend in college took me to a ballet folklórico group’s rehearsal. I tried the zapateado (footwork), and I liked it. I had fun. The difficult footwork fed my analytical mind, which was constantly looking for a challenge.
And then I began to learn about the history of Mexico through the dances. Something I’d never experienced. Now I see that learning these dances is a key to the past but it’s helping me build a foundation to my future.
Now, as a professional dance company member, I continue to develop my analytical mind by taking on duties in choreography.
Today, I am enthralled whenever I see folk dance from any part of the world. My folk dance interests are in Mexico, Central, and South American folk dances. I’m especially eager to learn and present some dances from Peru. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll be showcasing them in San Antonio. Stay tuned…