University's Folklorico Students Attend Performance in San Antonio

When members of the Texas A&M International University Ballet Folklórico hear traditional songs of Mexico, they are usually performing in front of a delighted audience. But circumstances were reversed recently as 16 members of the troupe were themselves in the audience for a performance in San Antonio by the renowned Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez.

Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia, director of the A&M International Ballet Folklórico, organized the trip so that her students could see a world-class professional dance company.

Amalia Hernandez' Ballet Folklorico de México has been hailed as one of the best dance companies in the world. The 75-member company has performed in Canada, Cuba, Mexico, the United States and throughout the world.

"Performing in front of an audience is an exhilarating experience for our students, one that showcases months of their hard work and dedication. But seeing a performance from the audience's perspective--especially a performance of this calibre--is a unique learning experience, one that will help students become better performers," said Mendoza-Garcia.

She said her students were especially impressed with the painstaking authenticity of the professional company's music, choreography, and costumes.

"Authenticity is something we strive for because the members of the A&M International Ballet Folklórico are not just dancers, they are story tellers, historians, and cultural ambassadors. Each dance is a history lesson is motion," she noted.

Mendoza-Garcia added that seeing the performance was especially important for the members of her group who have not been exposed to Mexican folklorico dances.

"The A&M International Ballet Folklórico is comprised entirely of University students. Some members have been international students--from countries such as China and Zambia--and they had never even seen Mexican folk dances before joining the group," she explained.

The students are currently busy preparing for their next major performance, "Las Posadas" to be held Friday, December 1 at 7 p.m. in the University's Kinesiology/Convocation Building.

Now in its fourth year, the annual event brings to life the centuries-old traditions, customs, and culture of Mexico. Las Posadas features performances by the A&M International Ballet Folklórico that showcases the diverse regional folk dances of Mexico, including those from the states of Nuevo Leon, Veracruz, Jalisco, and Sinaloa. It also includes a traditional processional in which audience members reenact Mary and Joseph's search to find lodging in Bethlehem.

Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information on the A&M International Ballet Folklórico, please contact Mendoza-Garcia at 326-2280. University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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