Mexican dance festival showcases culture, tradition

México’s premier dance group – the Ballet Folklórico Nacional de México Aztlán de Silvia Lozano – will be at Fresno State Saturday and Sunday, March 31-April 1,  to participate in workshops for El Festival de Los Danzantes.

The Ballet Folklórico Nacional, designated México’s official troupe in 1977, will perform for the festival’s Gala Showcase Concert at 7 p.m. March 31, at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in downtown Fresno. Also performing are Ballet Folklórico Costa De Oro based in San Lorenzo and Fresno State’s folkloric group Los Danzantes de Aztlán.

The annual festival, hosted by Los Danzantes with support from the university’s Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies, offers a weekend of cultural and folkloric dances, workshops and concerts with groups from Fresno, Tulare, Oakland and México.

At the festival workshops, dancers of all skill levels and ages from throughout California and México will be taught by Lozano, a renowned choreographer trained in classical ballet, contemporary and folk dance, and instructors from her troupe.

Dr. Victor Torres, the Los Danzantes director and Chicano and Latin American Studies department chair, said Lozano’s participation is an indication that Fresno, and Fresno State in particular, is becoming an important center for cultivation of Mexican folkloric dance.

“We are extremely privileged that such an internationally acclaimed dancer, choreographer and researcher in Mexican folkloric dance accepted our invitation to teach workshops and to perform at the gala concert Saturday night,” Torres said.

Fresno State alumnus Pat Gutierrez will be honored during the festival for his role in founding the folklórico program at Clovis High School in 1970 and the marimba band in 1976. Both programs were the first of their kind in the Clovis Unified School District.

Advance concert tickets are $15 and can be purchased from the Department of Chicano and Latin-American Studies and at Arte Americas in downtown Fresno. Walk-up tickets are $20..

A noon-2 p.m. April 1 recital featuring students of each workshop will be free and open at the Satellite Student Union.

The festival concludes on campus with the Sunday Showcase Concert 5-7 p.m. April 1 in the Satellite Student Union. On stage will be performers from Grupo Folklórico Baja California Sur of  Fresno, Los Danzantes del Puerto of Stockton, Ballet Folklórico México Azteca of Burbank, Los Danzantes de Tlaloc de Central High of Fresno and Ballet Folklórico Orgullo Mexicano of Porterville.

Tickets are $10. presale and at the door.

Registration for the festival begins at 7 p.m. Friday, March 30, on the first floor of the Social Sciences Building and will continue at 7:45 a.m. March 31.

Lozano will lead a general warm-up for participants at 8:15 a.m. March 31 in the South Gym, Room 109. Workshops will be held until 3 p.m. at various locations on campus.

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

(University Communications student news assistant Nicole Maul contributed to this copy.)

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