The Folk Ballet is performing this week at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. The Folk Ballet is performing this week at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City.

Dance company sees renewed interest in Mexican culture

The Amalia Hernández Folk Ballet will tour the US for five months in 2020

A folk ballet company has observed increased interest in Mexican culture at the international level and intends to take advantage of that with tours in the United States and South America.

In addition to regular performances at the Palace of Fine Arts and major festivals in Mexico, the Amalia Hernández Folk Ballet plans a five-month tour in the United States, another in South America and collaborations with Mariachi Vargas of Tecalitlán, Jalisco, one of Mexico’s oldest mariachi groups, and the National Symphonic Orchestra.

Says director Salvador López López, grandson of founder and namesake Amalia Hernández, “We will have a good season, generating new audiences, new ideas. We are taking advantage of the interest in Mexican culture and we are going to do our part with folk dance, which has a force and essence that is indispensable to the cultural life of the country.”

The 2020 season will begin after the last scheduled presentation for 2019, Navidades de México (Christmases of Mexico), scheduled for December 25 to January 5 at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. This is an annual tradition which was began by Hernández herself, focusing on the country’s different Christmas traditions.

It features a “living nativity scene,” the arrival of the Three Wise Men (who traditionally bring gifts to children on January 6) and posadas. It includes traditional dance from Oaxaca, Yucatán, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas and new choreographies based on dances from Tlaxcala, Michoacán and Veracruz.

The ballet troupe plans two international tours next year.
The ballet troupe plans two international tours next year.

The Mexican Folk Ballet was founded by dancer, teacher and choreographer Amalia Hernández in 1952, starting off as a workshop in modern ballet with eight dancers. It initially did only sporadic performances, but the success of a show about music of Michoacán prompted the group to research and perform Mexico’s many traditional folk dances. Soon the troupe was performing a weekly show on television, which got the attention of the Secretariat of Tourism. It began to send the dancers to countries such as Cuba, Canada and the United States.

The ballet group also sponsored a School of Folk Ballet founded in 1968. Its focus is on Mexican folk dance, but also teaches supporting techniques in classical ballet, ballroom dance and Afro-Cuban dance. Promising students are recruited to study at the school and then given a chance to audition for the dance company.

Source: Diario de Xalapa (sp)

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