Salvador Lopez assures that Las Vegas audiences will experience a different side of Mexico than they’ve ever seen before, when Ballet Folklórico takes the stage at The Smith Center on October 15.
“Ballet Folklórico is the best face of Mexico. It shows how rich our culture can be,” says Lopez, general director with the Mexican dance company that showcases Mexico’s history and culture through high-energy performances.
Returning to The Smith Center with a fully reimagined production — featuring over 500 hand-made costumes and adapted dances never performed before in the United States — Ballet Folklórico serves as both thrilling entertainment and a cultural ambassador of Mexico.
“Over 45 million people have seen Ballet Folklórico perform,” Lopez says. “The company has created a huge impact.”
A Small Mexican Company Grown to Global Impact
Founded 65 years ago by choreographer and dancer Amalia Hernandez, Ballet Folklórico’s ongoing aim is to preserve and celebrate the vibrant cultural dances and authentic costuming from throughout Mexico’s history.
“Amalia was trying to show the best of what Mexico can offer,” Lopez says.
Beginning as a small dance company with just eight members, Ballet Folklórico has since expanded to an internationally renowned institution of over 600, including dancers, musicians, teachers and students.
The company has served as the first organization to introduce Mexican dance and culture to many nations around the world, Lopez says, including Russia, Japan, China and much of Europe.
“The company (has toured) countries that didn’t know anything about Mexican culture,” Lopez says. “When they see our company, they see our country’s richness and culture.”
Brand-New Production Comes to Vegas
Ballet Folklórico will bring an all-new production to The Smith Center, Lopez says.
This will feature several adapted works being performed in America for the first time, which reimagine Hernandez’s choreography and are set to renowned Mexican classical piece, Huapango de Moncayo.
“Huapango Moncayo is a masterpiece of Mexican character that is very emotional,” Lopez says. “We were inspired by this piece and we’re recognizing Amalia’s work with this adaptation.”
The show will also include a performance of the Ballet Azteca, a dance the company hasn’t performed in America since the 1970s.
The dance pays homage to the ancient Aztec culture, Lopez says, and incorporates the Aztecs’ indigenous, rhythmic dance rituals.
“It’s a very strong dance, with costumes inspired by museums and books (on Aztec traditions),” Lopez says.
Dancing Through Mexican History and Culture
The company will also perform new versions of its traditional dances, featuring refreshed choreography and lush, vivid set pieces.
“Everything has been renewed and reworked,” Lopez says.
These dances represent all of Mexico’s different regions and historic eras, Lopez says, including folk dances influenced by Spanish, French and Austrian colonials.
One dance celebrates the Mexican tradition of charreria, a rodeo-like event. Still another brings Mexico’s joyous Fiesta en Tlacotalpan to life, featuring the lively fandango (a dance between two men as a test of skill), as well as mammoth mojigangas (dancing puppets).
“Everything shows the magic of the Mexican culture,” Lopez says.
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Las Vegas, NV 89106