Ballet Folklorico Oro De Mexico presents Navidad Folklórico, with guest dance troupes Ballet Folklórico Infantil Orgullo De México, and Ballet Folklorico Orgullo Mexicano at the Buck Shaffer Theater at Porterville Memorial Auditorium on Friday, December 13, from 7 to 9 p.m., with the auditorium doors opening at 6. Tickets are $10.

Mexican folkloric dance has been taught at Porterville schools for many years, and John Gonzales, who’s the Dance Director has taught Porterville students since September 2003. 

The high school dancers from Porterville, Monache, and Granite Hills in Ballet Folklorico Oro de Mexico have been rehearsing since September, so they have three months of training.

Gonzales has been teaching six dance classes, three with advanced dancers and three with beginners. 

“Finals start today, Tuesday, for the Porterville Unified students,” Gonzales said. So he scheduled theperformance at Buck Shaffer Auditorium for Friday, December 13, after final exams, from 7 to 9 p.m, he said, so his students wouldn’t have to worry about their studies, could rehearse, have a good lunch and then perform in the evening.

“What I love,” he said, “is that the beginning students get to watch the advanced students, and witness the unity, the second family, and the camaraderie that exists between the three advanced classes.”

For 17 years, Gonzales has been teaching in the community, and people are always excited to see their children and their friends dance and display their inner artistry, he said. 

“And families and friends are surprised and astounded to see what artists their children and friends can be.” 

The applause, screams, oohh’s and ahh’s, and enthusiasm is always exhilarating, he said. Seeing each dance class in its own element and identifying the state it’s from gives the dancing a whole different identity.

And each style of clothing shows the identity of the person wearing it and helps them connect with their roots.

Advanced dancers from Porterville High School will perform in two dances from the states of Baja California Sud and Corridos that are dramatic.

In all folklorico dances you see the happiness and joy of the dancers, but there is also a dance from Corridos that’s dramatic and reflects some of the tragedy existing in the region.

Monache High School dancers will perform dances from Chihuahua, reflecting a cowboy style, and then a dance from the state of Guerrero, which is colorful, with the women using handkerchiefs and the men imitating a bull.

Granite Hills High School students will be dancing a dance from the state of Durango, with the young women wearing costumes that are a bit more reserved, long sleeves, dresses down to the ankle, with high collars. 

The next dance they will perform is from the state of Campeche, with the women shaking their shoulders, clapping their hands, and everyone will be showing a lot of enthusiasm. And the men will be doing a lot of footwork balancing on a wooden box.

“I’ve really tried to highlight the different regions in Mexico for all the audience members to see,” Gonzales said. “So they can have pride in Mexico in general, and see the diversity of the people and their roots.

The performance itself stands for hope. I’ve been told by people in my audiences that they are thankful and grateful to be reminded of their home country, and their own small towns.”

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