Willa Wilde (Red Dress), Gloria Cazarez (Orange Dress), Yessica Canas (Blue Dress), Alex Valles (Green Dress), and Katie Holz (Purple Dress) practice for an upcoming folklorico preformance.
Willa Wilde (Red Dress), Gloria Cazarez (Orange Dress), Yessica Canas (Blue Dress), Alex Valles (Green Dress), and Katie Holz (Purple Dress) practice for an upcoming folklorico preformance.

Grupo Folklorico brings Mexican folk dance and culture to CU

Willa Wilde (Red Dress), Gloria Cazarez (Orange Dress), Yessica Canas (Blue Dress), Alex Valles (Green Dress), and Katie Holz (Purple Dress) practice for an upcoming folklorico preformance.
From left, Willa Wilde, Yessica Canas, Gloria Cazarez and Alex Valles practice for an upcoming Folklorico performance. (Allie Greenwood/CU Independent)

Grupo Folklorico de CU Boulder, a new student group dedicated to authentic Mexican folk dance, will perform Friday, April 11 in the Imig Music Building.

While the Grupo Folklorico is not a new group, as the members have been performing together for about two years, they are new as an official student group at CU.

“As a dance group, we try to get more out into the community at CU just so that we can get more exposure and that people can know that we’re here,” said Sara Roybal, the instructor for the Grupo Folklorico. “We accept anybody and everybody.”

For some members of the group, learning about the tradition and culture behind the Mexican folk dances is an important part of their involvement.

“We learn styles of dances from different regions of Mexico, while also learning about the folklore and culture behind each piece,” said Willa Wilde, a 23-year-old senior dance major. 

For Yessica G. Canas, a 21-year-old junior integrative physiology major, Mexican folk dance is a part of her culture and homeland. She said “knowing the influences and history that compose the [Mexican] culture is important.”

In addition to teaching traditional styles of folk dance, Grupo Folklorico offers instruction about Mexican culture to those who may not be familiar with it.

“It’s crucial that students learn about other cultures because learning about other cultures opens our eyes and allows for new possibilities to happen,” Wilde said. “Learning about a new culture opens a door into a different world.”

Roybal said that the Grupo Folklorico hopes to collaborate with some African dance classes in the future, which will help promote a variety of cultural knowledge. 

Audience members have a lot to look forward to in Grupo Folklorico’s upcoming performance.

“[There will be] bright, beautiful costumes, smiling faces, quick, staccato movement and gritos,” Wilde said.

A “grito” is a shout, such as “aayyee,” and is a major part of Mexican folk dance. Audience members will be invited to participate in the “gritos.”

Canas said that the audience can expect “a performance that is 100 percent authentic and pays all the respects to the culture behind it.”

The ensemble looks forward to debuting dances from the regions of Sinaloa and Jalisco during its upcoming performance.

“Each state has its own style of dance,” Roybal said.  “And within each state, there are several different types of styles and costumes.”

Costumes also vary between dancers in each state of Mexico, so the Grupo Folklorico dancers will be wearing a different costume for each region.

“For Sinaloa, it’s a solid color in the skirt, but then the ruffles have a tropical pattern to it, and the tops are white peasant blouses,” Roybal said. “The Jalisco is another big skirt with a top, but the skirt has a whole bunch of ribbons on it so when you are twirling it, you can see a rainbow of colors going through.”

Grupo Folklorico is excited to be accompanied by a live mariachi band.

“We have never performed with live music before so it will be fun having two aspects of the Mexican culture come together,” Wilde said.

The performance will be at 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 11 in Grusin Music Hall. Tickets are free. 

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Stacia Sellers at Stacia.sellers@colorado.edu.

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