Mexico: Bailes y Tradiciones: Exuberance and Flair

Local Arts Reviews

Mexico: Bailes y Tradiciones: Exuberance and Flair

One World Theatre,

December 1

You can tell we are childless. "There sure are a lot of kids here ... Are we in the wrong place?" Oh, great! Robert is going to kill me for not paying attention and coming to the wrong performance. But my husband and I were in the right place and at the right time to see an unbilled "Kids Series" performance by Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklorico at the One World Theatre.

Mexico: Bailes y Tradiciones was an immensely entertaining tribute to Mexican folklore that included traditional costumes, dance, and mariachi music in front of a painted Mexican town square backdrop. The smiling dancers (approximately 14 adults and 20 youth) executed clear and synchronized footwork, or zapateados, with flair and exuberance. Especially charming were the younger boys performing rhythmic percussion with what looked like small machetes. They looked very proud of themselves, and the audience responded wildly.

As much a part of the dancing as the dancers themselves were the beautiful costumes. Multicolored calico and gingham dresses fluttered like butterflies, pink and blue floral dresses with lace created kaleidoscopic patterns in the air, and drop-dead spider-web overskirts with brilliant embroidery gave the eyes a feast. Not to be outdone, the youth and men wore green satin shirts, yoked shirts and cowboy hats, natty blue vests, and black mariachi-style suits with large-brimmed black hats and yards of white scroll trim.

The kids in attendance responded particularly strongly to the comedic old-men dance. Three dancers decked out in serapes, beribboned hats, goofy masks, and really loud sandals bent over canes and tried alternately to out-dance each other and to trip each other up. They pulled kids from the audience to dance with them and, amazingly, some did. Others cried, but most of the kids laughed and enjoyed the slapstick maneuvers. When the dancers bowed, it was good to both acknowledge their fine performance and see that they were just wearing masks. The other surprise that went over really well with the younger set was a candy-filled piñata.

One of the major strengths of Roy Lozano's company is that they utilize interesting formations and staging to make social/exhibition dance work in a proscenium thrust space. Folk dance was originally meant to be viewed in the town square (in the round), but this company and the choreography are flexible enough to adapt it to the circumstances. It was also gratifying to see a local dance group, especially this one, performing at the One World, traditionally a host to touring groups. I would love to see OWT expand both the Kids Series performances and the booking of local dance groups.

And if I could have one more wish, it would be for a more thorough program insert with information about the dances that you could read to your kids later.

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Mexico: Bailes y Tradiciones, Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklorico

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