Folklorico right on time for ‘Cinco’
Small and very serious, like miniature adults, Adriana Aguilar and Carlos Galvan perform Las Alazanas. It’s the last after-school practice before the big Cinco de Mayo dance.
Seven-year-old Adriana advances, seductively flouncing the black skirts of her full dress, the red ribbons in her hair bobbing. Carlos, also 7, retreats, hands clasped behind his back, gold-threaded sombrero tipped just a little to the right, boots stomping rhythmically on the carpeted classroom floor.
“Las Alazanas is like the galloping of a horse,” said Lilia Lomeli, an instructional aide at Al Tahoe, shortening a pair of black costume pants with gray duct tape. “It’s a fun dance, a celebration.”
Nearly 15 boys and girls, ages 7 through 10, giggle and watch the two as they gravely perform the duet. They’ve been practicing for weeks under the direction and guidance of Mexico-native Socorro Wackenhut, and her assistants Lomeli and Marlene Guerrero. The Al Tahoe Elementary School Ballet Folklorico is in its second year of performances. They wear costumes from Mexico, purchased through the proceeds of an annual fund-raising dinner and raffle supported by area businesses.
“We do it to keep the culture of Mexico alive,” Wackenhut said, keeping an eye on the dancers. “It has to be colorful and fun, that’s why we have all the ribbons and pretty costumes.”
Clearly the ruffled, colorful dresses are the highlight of the experience for many of the girls. During practice time they wear the skirts over their regular clothing – reserving the tight matching tops for performances – and their hands constantly swish the folds of fabric around, twirling and fanning them out.
For others, the fun is in the movement, the practice and the company.
“We do this because it’s fun and easy,” said 10-year-old Jose Lopez. “Each Cinqo de Mayo we dance, we celebrate because it’s part of our history.”
Beyond all the fun stuff though, the history part remains a little vague for some.
“When the Mexicans did the war, they won it,” said Jessica Wackenhut, 12. “That’s what my mom told me, anyway.”
WHAT: Al Tahoe Elementary School Ballet Folklorico Cinco De Mayo Dance
WHEN: Today, 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Al Tahoe Elementary Multi-purpose room
This performance is free
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