‘I want them to feel it’: Reno dance groups bring a piece of Mexican culture to life

Grecia Chavez has been dancing Mexican folk dance her whole life.

“Ballet folclórico has always been very important to me,” Chavez, 18, said. “Growing up, it’s always been something that’s been a part of my life and a part of my routine. My mom dances, my grandma dances and my sisters dance.”

Chavez teaches dance for Ballet Folclórico Pueblo Nuevo, a Mexican folk dance group of children and teenage dancers ranging from 4 to 18 years old. The group performs at community events during holidays such as Cinco de Mayo and Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). 카지노사이트

They recently performed a dance celebrating Día de los Muertos at the Nevada Museum of Art.

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“We do this because we love it, and we like to teach kids about their culture,” Chavez said. “We like to bring a part of Mexico to them.”

Ballet Folclórico Pueblo Nuevo is one of few groups that dance Mexican folk dance in Reno.

Mariano Lemus is director of Teatro Sangre Latina, a local theater group that performs plays to educate people about the Latino culture. The theater group also encompasses two dance groups, Danza Azteca Aztlan and Ballet Folclórico Internacional de Reno—made up of both kids and adult dancers.

Lemus, who immigrated from Michoacán, Mexico, had the idea to create plays based on historical events and customs from his home country.

“We want to augment the love of the culture, the love of the second homeland for the younger generations to help them identify themselves with their roots,” Lemus said in Spanish. “They need to know about their roots and feel proud of it.”

When he moved to Reno in 1998, he found there were no groups or organizations that promoted the Latino culture in the area. So, he establish the theater group in 2003. 안전한카지노사이트

Then in 2006, he helped start Danza Azteca Aztlan, and six years later, he helped establish Ballet Folclórico Internacional de Reno.

Lemus said he believes much of the younger generations, those who were born or grew up in the U.S. after their parents immigrated here, have forgotten their culture.

The goal is to keep that culture alive, particularly during Hispanic Heritage Month, which ends on Oct. 15.

“It’s sad because in a way we lose a little bit more of our culture,” Lemus said. “In some occasions, kids even forget their language.

“Imagine, if they can forget their language, then they can forget about their traditions, their culture and knowledge of their ancestral history,” he said. “We need to demonstrate to them how immense the culture is in Mexico and how beautiful our traditions are.”

Lemus said he hopes his students will want to learn more about their culture and hopefully travel through Mexico when they grow up.

He said he believes in teaching kids they have two countries they can call home. One opened doors and opportunities for a better future. The other is their country of origin.

“They need to learn about and love one country equally as the other,” Lemus said. “That’s a wonderful thing.”

Bringing a piece of Mexico to Reno
Belen Chavez, Grecia’s mother, said she learned to dance from her mother, who would tell her stories about her dancing days.

“She would tell me she used to dance, and she would show me her dresses,” Chavez said in Spanish. “I ended up wearing some of her dresses, and that always motivated me to dance.”

Now, she teaches her three daughters to dance. At family gatherings, her daughters sometimes dance with their grandmother. They put on performances for the rest of the family, all while wearing the colorful dresses, the bright flowers in their hair and the vivid makeup.

Chavez and her daughters immigrated from Guadalajara, Jalisco, and started their own dance group in Reno in 2018. It had become a necessity to dance, so much so, that her daughters would become depressed if they didn’t dance.

“When we moved to Reno, I didn’t see much culture,” Chavez said. So, Chavez found a place along South Wells Avenue—often considered as the hub for the Latino community—and called it Casa Cultural de Reno.

She currently uses the space twice a week as a dance studio so her students can rehearse. Each dance they do represents a different state within Mexico.

“Chiapas is a region where they dance in a way that represents the expression of birds,” Chavez said. “From there, the movements are like imitating the birds dancing. 카지노사이트 추천

“We’re from Jalisco, which has a more traditional dance, style mariachi.”

In Michoacán, the traditional dance is called La Danza de los Viejitos (The Dance of the Old Men). Other dances incorporate tap dancing.

Even their outfits, all of which are handmade and imported from Mexico, represent a different region. She often reminds her daughter, Grecia, about the importance of teaching children how to dance.

“I feel very satisfied,” Chavez said of her daughter’s ability to teach kids. “I tell her that what we’re seeding in these children is something great for our community. The children who are dancing will always remember these dances. They have that little seed implanted in them, and maybe one of them will continue to inculcate this art.”

Chavez said it has been difficult to teach children who aren’t familiar with the tradition of Mexican folk dance because many don’t even understand the music. She said some of her students have trouble expressing the dance to an audience.

“We have to explain to them and show them how to feel the music,” Chavez said. “We are able to feel it because we grew up that way, and we understand the music.”

Lemus, who helped establish Ballet Folclórico Internacional de Reno, said he’s had similar challenges to overcome.

He said many don’t even know the origin of Mexican folk dance. Last month, they performed a series of dances that represented 10 different states within Mexico. The event, Estampas de México, was the first of its kind for the group.

Lemus is also planning on having his dancers perform in celebration of Dia de los Muertos in early November. Their performance will be a mix of theater and dance. His goal is to teach others about the history of Día de los Muertos, which he says began as an Aztec holiday.

It’s a holiday, typically celebrated Nov. 1-2, in which families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes music, food, ofrendas (altars), costumes, colorful face paintings and flowers.

As a kid growing up in Michoacán, Lemus said he remembers running through the streets of his hometown and smelling the overwhelming scent of flowers and marigold—often used in altars honoring deceased loved ones. The bright yellow and orange colors signify the start of Día de los Muertos festivities.

“You would make the pilgrimage to the cemetery, and you would straighten up the graves of your relatives,” Lemus said.

Family members typically clean and decorate the gravesites of loved one with skulls, garlands, candles and marigold flowers.

He hopes the group’s upcoming dance and theatrical performance will allow others to experience Día de los Muertos the way he did when he was growing up.

“I want to help kids do something positive and help them learn about something beautiful about their culture [through Mexican folk dance],” Lemus said. “I want them to feel it, dance it, analyze it and learn about it.

“We don’t just teach them about the dances, we teach them a little bit about the history and the culture, the basics of what they should know like where these dances originated from, from which states, how many states there are in Mexico, the geography of Mexico.”

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