Baile Folklorico is a Spanish dance. It is a traditional Mexican dance that emphasizes local folk culture. These dances are usually seen in dance festivals, parades, competitions and are seen at many more places. The dresses that are worn by the dancers can be an indication of where they are from. Their dance partners are usually dressed in black suits. The dance was founded by Amalia Hernandez which had been established in 1952, she was a Mexican folk dancer, choreographer and was the founder of the internationally renowned Ballet Folklorico.
Currently, at Santiago High school, we have a Folklorico class that is taught by Mrs. Opfell. I had an opportunity to interview her and ask questions. The first question I asked was, “Do you like being the advisor for the Folklorico dance team?” Her response was, “Yes, I love it. I love being the advisor because I enjoy helping students feel proud of their heritage.” The next question I asked was, “How long has this program been at this school?” She said “It will be 5 years. It started as a club but is now a class.” Mrs. Opfell then added that the club still exists because of fundraising for items such as costumes and competitions. I also asked, “Before any performance, how long do you have the team practice?” She replied, “We practice several months before we’re ready for a performance. We have weekend and after school practice.” Another question was, “Besides performing at school, where else has the team performed?” She said, “We perform for communities such as elderly centers, other schools, and for our district.” I then asked her, “Do you create the dances?” She explained, “The music exists, the steps are pretty much set up, I do create the choreography.” And I asked her what her favorite dance was and her response was, “It’s more than a dance it’s a region. My favorite region is Baja. It is very lively.” She also added that she gets the dresses online and hires a seamstress to alter them. In addition, I asked, “What’s your favorite thing about being the teams’ advisor?” She said, “I like being the team advisor because I like taking the dancers to perform, the girls get very excited and happy. And when they’re done they feel proud of themselves and I am proud of them as well.”
I was interested to know why she decided to do a dance on Dia De Los Muertos and she said, “I want Americans to learn about Mexican culture because within our American culture a lot of Hispanics live in our communities. It also helps Hispanics learn about their culture.” I also interviewed a student who is part of the class, Andrea Gonzales. A question I asked was, “How long have you been dancing in Folklorico? She responded, “I’ve been in Folklorico since freshman year. So, this is my 4th year.” Another question I asked was, “What’s your favorite part about being in this dance team?” She said, “I think just the overall experience, meeting new people and when I first started I had stage fright so it helped with my confidence a lot.” The last question I asked was, “Where was your favorite place to perform?” She explained, “I think my favorite places to perform are elementary schools and district meetings.” Folklorico is a dance that is basically a dance style that displays the diversity of the Mexican culture.
Folklorico is always going to be a traditional dance for the Latin American folk culture. Over time the dance has become more popular. More and more people eventually started joining either in groups or individually. This dance is mostly recognized by their outfits. It is very popular since there it expresses different cultures.
Story is written and the photo taken by Valerie Millan