“Being selected to perform at this festival is no easy accomplishment,” said Dr. Victor Torres, the group’s director and a professor in the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at Fresno State. “It takes lots of dedication, passion and rehearsal.”
The three-weekend festival started July 6 and will continue July 14-15 and July 21-22 at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House and City Hall. This year’s program features more than 20 performers presenting dance and music from Alaska, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, India, Korea, Liberia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Spain, Tahiti, the continental U.S. and Zimbabwe.
On July 21 and 22, Los Danzantes will perform Huapangos from the state of Hidalgo. The traditional music is rooted in the Huasteca cultural region of Mexico, which encompasses parts of several states: Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro and Hidalgo. The performance will include live music played by Los Hermanos Herrera, whose most recent Mexican folk music album was released by Smithsonian Folkways.
This is Los Danzantes’ third appearance at the festival. The group has auditioned three times and been selected to perform each time since 2014.
“This is a new milestone in the many that Los Danzantes has achieved,” Torres said.
Los Danzantes is the only university-based group in California and the only Central California group (university or community) to have this distinction, Torres said. He credits the support the program receives from Fresno State for being able to reach such achievements.
The group last attended the festival in 2016, when they performed dances from the Totonaca region of Veracruz. The festival was included in the New York Times’ list of 50 Essential Summer Festivals in the country that year.
Founded in 1970 in the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department, the 25-member troupe is the only Mexican folkloric dance group in the CSU system recognized as an official representative of the University.
Prior to the summer engagement, the troupe will perform locally at the 42nd anniversary of the Chicano/Latino Commencement Celebration, which Torres is also the coordinator of, on May 19.
Tickets for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival can be purchased online at worldartswest.org/main/tickets.asp or by phone at 415.392.4400.
For more information about Los Danzantes, contact Dr. Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(University Communications news intern Yesenia Candelaria contributed to this report. Originally published on March 28, 2018.)