El Festival de Los Danzantes – a conference of cultural and folkloric dance and workshops plus a concert featuring groups from Fresno, Southern California and México – comes to life April 2-3 at California State University, Fresno.

Hundreds of dancers of all ages and ability from throughout California and México will attend the festival, which is open to the public. Some events are free.

The festival is hosted by Los Danzantes de Aztlán, Fresno State’s premier folkloric dance troupe, with support from the Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies.

Honored at the event will be the late Fresno State professor emeritus Ernesto Martinez, who founded Los Danzantes de Aztlán. John Estrada of West Los Angeles College and Dr. Susan Cashion, a Stanford University professor emeritus and former Dance Department chair.

Registration at $75 begins at 7 p.m. Friday, April 1, resuming at 7:45 a.m. April 2.

The Gala/Showcase Concert begins at 6:30 p.m. April 2 at the Satellite Student Union. Tickets are $12 pre-sale (available at the Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies and Arte Américas in downtown Fresno), $15 at the door.

The gala concert headliner is Compañia de Danza Ticuan from Tijuana. The concert also will feature Fresno State’s own Los Danzantes de Aztlán, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Also performing will be Mestizos del Valle Dance Company from Fresno; Ballet Folklórico Mexico Azteca from Burbank; and Grupo Folklórico Mictlantecuhtli from West Los Angeles College.

Dr. Victor Torres, director of Los Danzantes and chair of the sponsoring department CLAS, who is coordinating the event with his students, said this festival follows in the tradition started by honoree Estrada and Danzantes Unidos Inc. in 1979 at UCLA.

“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,” Torres said.

Folkloric dance workshops are scheduled April 2 and 3, some presented by dancers from Compañia de Danza Ticuan.

A recital featuring the students of each workshop will begin at  noon in the Peace Garden north of the Henry Madden Library.

In addition to Estrada, the festival will honor Cashion and Professor Martinez as key individuals in the development of Mexican folkloric dance in California.

At Stanford, Cashion established one of the most recognized groups in California – Los Lupeños de San Jose. She also founded the Ballet Folklórico de Stanford. At the conference, she will present a master seminar for dance directors.

Professor Martinez will be honored for his contributions to Mexican folklórico dance in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Conference information is available at http://danzantesdeaztlanjuvenil.com and from Torres at 559.278.4115 or victort@csufresno.edu.

Related links:

Ernesto Martínez