The Eighth Annual “Festival de Los Danzantes” returns to Fresno State April 11-13 featuring Mexican folkloric dance troupes from throughout the United States for workshops, concerts and a new feature this year — Charreada, a traditional Mexican horse riding skills demonstration.
The Charreada demonstration will be at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12 at the Student Horse Center (Woodrow Avenue, south of Barstow Avenue) and will include Escaramuzas, a team of skilled female horse riders.
The festival’s main concert, the Gala Show, will be at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 13 at the Satellite Student Union.
Hosted by Fresno State’s own Los Danzantes de Aztlan of the Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies, the festival draws Mexican folkloric dancers of all ages from as far as Oregon and Texas to learn, practice and perform.
The renowned Ballet Folklórico Nacional de Mexico de Silvia Lozano, Mexico’s premier dance troupe, returns with Lozano and her dancers teaching 10 workshops with dance styles from various states of Mexico.
Her troupe will perform at the Festival Gala Show Sunday which will also feature Los Danzantes de Aztlan. Admission is $12 pre-sale or $14 at the door.
Also performing at the gala will be local groups Mestizos del Valle Dance Company, Ballet Folklorico Alta California, Juvenil, Danzantes de Tlaloc (Central High School), Alma de Clovis High and Danza Teocalt from Los Angeles.
The festival also features professionally- and academically-trained dance instructors and researchers from California and Chihuahua and Aguascalientes, Mexico. Participants earn a certificate of completion and university credit.
Under the direction of Dr. Victor Torres, professor of Chicano and Latin American Studies, the Fresno State student members of Los Danzantes de Aztlan “invest countless hours organizing this event where practitioners of Mexican regional dance can come together to share this passion in an organized, professional and supportive ambiance that keeps these rich traditions alive.”
The Charreada demonstration Saturday night will feature Los Caporales de Fresno and Los Compadres de Mendota. These local teams of charros (Mexican cowboys) will demonstrate traditional charro horse riding and roping skills.
Torres said the Charreada was added to the festival because it incorporates important elements of Mexican tradition and culture.
“The ranching lifestyle and the charro are important symbols of hard work, self-reliance and independence, but also of honor and respect,” Torres said. “Organizing a Charreada is a way to maintain this tradition and at the same time promote these values to the younger generation of students-values that transfer to success in academics.”
Admission to the Charreada is $15. Children 10 and under are free. A limited number of tickets are available to the public and can be purchased at Pepas Mexican Restaurant (6656 N. Cedar Ave.) and Arte Americas (1630 Van Ness Ave. or call 559.266.2623).
Parking at Fresno State is free on weekends (after 4 p.m. Friday).
For more information, contact Torres at 559.278.4115 or at email@example.com.