Posted: 3/09/23

TAMIU’s Ballet Folklórico Sweeps Dance Awards at Two Competitions



Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) Ballet Folklórico swept recent awards at the 18th Annual Bailes de Mi Tierra Competencia Folklórica held in Cedar Creek, TX and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Dance Adjudication Festival in Edinburg.

The three-day Bailes de Mi Tierra Competencia Folklórica event drew competitive dance troupes from across Texas and surrounding states. Competitions are available for solos, duets, trios, and large groups. A six-member panel of judges from México reviewed performances across four stages.

TAMIU earned eight awards in the University-College category, the majority first-place positions. TAMIU bested competitors from Sam Houston State University and Our Lady of the Lake University. This is the third time the TAMIU Ballet Folklórico competed at the Bailes de Mi Tierra Competencia Folklórica, and most prolific win with eight trophies awarded in nine entries. A total of 40 folklórico groups competed, including three university groups, as well as elementary, middle, and high schools, to public, private, non-profit dance studios, and professional companies.

Categories and their winners included: First place intermediate solo Carolina Hinojosa; Second place intermediate solo Victoria Moreno; First place advanced solo Angelica Favela; Second place advanced solo Jonathan Ruiz; First place beginner duet Naila Garza and Denisse Garza; First place intermediate duet Jonathan Ruiz and Clarissa Buenrostro ; First place advanced duet Angel Flores and Victoria Dubon and First  place beginner cuadro, “La Diáspora Africana en Veracruz, México.”

The TAMIU Ballet Folklorico then traveled to Edinburg to compete at the UTRGV Dance Adjudication Festival. Four students competed in the University Contemporary Folklorico category, receiving two trophies: Best Contemporary Folklorico Solo (Marla Muñoz) and Best Overall Contemporary Folklorico Group. Each dancer received medals, with the “best solo” receiving a trophy.

A distinction of the UTRGV competition is that students choreograph their own dance pieces. The students fuse traditional Mexican folkloric dance with contemporary dance to narrate their identity.  

Students and their UTRGV Dance Adjudication Festival Awards were:  First place Contemporary Folklorico Solo: Marla Muñoz ; Second place Contemporary Folklorico Solo: Andrea Flores;  Third place (tied) Contemporary Folklorico Solo: Ana Rodríguez and  Third place (tied) Contemporary Folklorico Solo: Belmaris Veliz. 

TAMIU’s Ballet Folklórico is advised by adjunct faculty member Nayeli Lopez Diaz. The 24- member troupe meets weekly and maintains an aggressive performance and competition schedule.

Lopez said she is tremendously proud of the TAMIU students, performances and reception by the judges at both contests.

“The Ballet Folklórico students did excellent in this competition. I was very impressed by their performances. I am very happy and proud of our Ballet Folklorico students for dedicating their time to prepare for this competition. They were determined to represent TAMIU to their best ability. I saw the hard work, dedication, and hours they put into their art, and I’m confident that the exposure helped to grow their artistic abilities. The feedback they received from professional folklórico maestros and maestros from México who served as judges who study, research, and choreograph traditional Mexican folkloric dance was insightful. I am humbled to see them grow and achieve their goals and very appreciative of the support students' received from families, parents, and loved ones, many traveling to the competition to cheer us on,” she said.

Lopez noted that the TAMIU Ballet Folklorico has also been invited to travel to Mexico City this summer to take dance classes at the Escuela de Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández, a source of great pride for her.

“This is the same school where I received my folklórico training;and I hope to open doors for my students to dance professionally in Mexico City as well. We hope that they will have an opportunity to audition for the national folklórico company, sit in company rehearsals, and network with professional folklórico dancers,” she explained.

TAMIU currently offers a minor in Dance. Students can take courses in several genres including ballet folklórico and are required to enroll in courses in improvisation, Dance history, concert choreography, and Dance conditioning. University Dance students also have the opportunity to perform each semester in Fall and Spring dance concerts and may work alongside faculty members on their professional dance projects. For more information on Dance classes at the University, visit https://go.tamiu.edu/dance

For additional information, contact Jee Eun Ahn at 956.326.2654, email JeeEun.Ahn@tamiu.edu, or call Tim Rubel at 956.326.2625 or email timothy.rubel@tamiu.edu.

The TAMIU Ballet Folklórico has something to smile about...winning at two folklórico dance competitions in Texas.