Fresno State hosts major Mexican dance festival March 27-28

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Fresno State hosts major Mexican dance festival March 27-28

El Festival de Los Danzantes – a family-friendly conference of cultural and folkloric dance performances and workshops – comes to life Saturday and Sunday, March 27-28, at California State University, Fresno and Clovis North High School.

The highlight is a concert featuring a group from the Instituto Tecnológico de Nuevo Laredo Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, México. Also performing will be Ballet Folklórico Mixteco from East Los Angeles, Grupo Folklórico de West Los Angeles Mictlantecuhtli and Grupo Folklórico Baja California, Sur of Fresno.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. March 27 at the Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall at Clovis North (2770 E. International Ave. in Fresno). Pre-concert tickets are $12; $15 at the door.

The festival is hosted by Los Danzantes de Aztlán, Fresno State’s premier folkloric dance troupe, in collaboration with the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department. Dancers of all ages and ability attend the annual event from throughout California and México.

Dr. Victor Torres, director of Los Danzantes and a Fresno State professor of Chicano and Latin American studies, said this festival follows in the tradition started by John Estrada and Danzantes Unidos Inc. in 1979 at UCLA. Estrada plans to attend this year’s event with his group Mictlantecuhtli from West Los Angeles.

“With such a strong presence of Mexican folkloric dance here in the Valley, it makes sense that Fresno State should serve as a major source of information and support for Mexican folkloric dance, continuing this wonderful cultural tradition here,” Torres said.

Estrada’s presence is a special treat for the dancers, he added. “He will be able to witness first-hand the continuation of his vision, which was to provide Mexican folklórico dancers the opportunity to meet, study, share and perform in a united celebration.”

The folkloric dance workshops are scheduled 9 a.m.-3 p.m. March 27 and 9-11:30 a.m. March 28 at Fresno State. Early registration is at 7 p.m. March 26 in the Social Sciences Building Room 211. Registration on March 27 begins at 7:45 a.m. near the Engineering West Building. The fee to participate in the workshops is $68 the day of the event.

Workshops are held at various locations on campus. They will offer insights on dance styles from various parts of Mexico: Baja California Norte (Calabacaeados), Chihuahua, Aztec danzas, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit (Costa), Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa-Costa, Tropical (carnival-style dances from Veracruz) and Huapangos from Tamaulipas.

A free recital featuring students of each workshop will be held from noon to 2:30 p.m. March 28 in the Satellite Student Union.

Tickets for the March 27 concert may be purchased at Arte Americas in downtown Fresno and through the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department, 559.278.2848).

Registration is available at www.danzantesdeaztlanjuvenil.com.

For more information, contact Torres at 559.278.4115 or victort@csufresno.edu.