Gran Folklorico de Mexico ballet wows sold-out crowd

Home Features Gran Folklorico de Mexico ballet wows sold-out crowd

Cynthia Munoz

Oct 11 2006 12:00AM

Colors on top of colors, fluttering dresses, flirtatious kisses, and gritos of “­Viva M‚xico!” took over the Ashmore Auditorium Friday night, when the ballet Gran Folklorico de Mexico twirled its way in. 

On Oct. 6, the Ashmore Auditorium hosted Mexico City’s “Mexican Ambassadors of Song and Dance” ballet Gran Folklorico de Mexico.

“Oohhs” and “Awes” came from the full house that sang along and clapped to the songs and the beats of the folklorico.

“There were so many colors, I thought my eyes might have burned out,” an audience member said.

According to Rhoda Moya, Lyceum secretary, the auditorium was jam packed and at least 35 people were outside pleading to get in even though they knew that the show had been sold out that morning.

“It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,” Moya said. “I had nine calls this morning asking when they would be back.”

The ballet, a historical waltz of Mexican culture, demonstrates the lifestyles of Mexico since the Aztecs.

Artistic Director Theo Shanab, who has been with the ballet for over 30 years, said the point of the ballet is to “bring some of the Mexican culture and influence that has been lost” back into the U.S. 

“Many children of Hispanic origin are born in the United States, and they never get to see who they really are or where they come from,” Shanab said. “[With the performance] they will get to see the beauty and the essence of what is their heritage.”

According to Spanish instructor Zieda Ward, a lot of people have “misconceptions of Mexico; they [only] think sombreros.”

“People are not aware of the different music in Mexico,” said Ward. “The music is not only influenced by the islands of Mexico near the Caribbean to the Pacific coast but the impact of African, Arab and Spanish as well.”

The 35 dancers and singers are customized to fit the time of each period demonstrated.

“Our show is of complete authenticity to our folklore,” Shanab said. “Our costumes are all hand embroidered and complement Mexican music (mariachis and marimba) to express our ancient times to the present.”

Ward explained that to really appreciate the show one must understand Mexico’s diversity.

“They are educating the public of the history of Mexico through music and dance,” said Ward.  “And they begin the show with the Pre-Columbian dances because that’s really where the Mexican culture really started.”

According to Shanab, many people are unaware of their own folklore.  The performance expresses past folklore traditions of Mexico from the Aztecs to the Dance of the Deer (the fight between good and evil), and the present Mexico.

“No other country has such deep folklore as Mexico.  No other culture is as rich and flavorful and Mexico once was,” Shanab said.

“The students are very lucky,” said Ward. “I’ve seen them in California, and the same show in bigger cities would have been $40 to $80.”

“Why didn’t they come sooner?” asked several audience members.  According to Moya, the Lyceum office is optimistic about having the ballet back.

“When the committee meets again I will be one of the first to make sure they come back again,” Moya said.