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May 11, 2010 > El Ballet Folklorico celebrates 20 Years

El Ballet Folklorico celebrates 20 Years

By Emma Victoria G. Blanco

There was always dancing music in his home... and perhaps in his blood. So Jaime Huertas grew up dancing, became a professional dancer and then a dance instructor.

Huertas fondly remembers dancing when he was just four years old. He started dancing professionally in 1976 and just recently retired from the stage after 33 years. Twenty years ago, the guidance counselor at Union City's James Logan High School was approached by a group of students eager to learn dances for the school's annual Cinco de Mayo assembly and asked for his help. The group's successful performance led to the subsequent formation of a small, yet passionate and well-regarded performing dance company: Ballet Folklorico de James Logan High School

Logan High has a reputation for its nationally-recognized and world-renowned music program; El Ballet Folklorico is proud to be part of its strong performance arts legacy. The dance troupe is sub-divided into beginners, intermediate dancers, and "the performing company." The core group consists of 25 dancers who perform throughout all four years of high school. They have performed at festivals, state-wide conferences, other schools and many public and private functions, receiving accolades from the Folklorico community.

"Ballet Folklorico Mexicano [is comprised of] folk dances that represent the various regions of Mexico. Many of the States of Mexico are rich with culture, with indigenous Spanish, European, and African roots. Dances from each state are vastly different due to these influences," Huertas explained.

The 20th Anniversary Show is a very important event for the troupe. "[Twenty] years is an accomplishment and in those years the dance group [has] become an integral part of the school culture." The dancers have been preparing to perform at this special event for close to two years; rehearsing four days of the week and sometimes even on Saturdays. They are also dedicated students who balance their love for dance and schoolwork (they are required to maintain an eligible grade point average.)

Huertas and his dancers are looking forward to presenting a professional-level performance in the school's new Center of Performing Arts and hope to bring awareness of Mexican dance culture to the local community.

The 47,300 square foot Center, which features a 599-seat theater, support facilities and two stories of music and drama classrooms, was funded by facilities bond, Measure A (a $150 million bond passed by New Haven voters in 2002). On May 22, a Grand Opening by The New Haven Schools Foundation will feature a "Show of Shows" Gala to raise funds to purchase a grand piano and/or additional equipment for the Center. More information about the Gala can be found online at nhsfoundation.org.

With special guests like Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Carlos Moreno, Compania Mexico Danza and Mariachi Mexicanismo, and popular Bay Area radio personality, Sylvia Chacon as Mistress of Ceremony, the Logan Ballet Folklorico's 20th Anniversary Show promises to be a spectacular event not to be missed. "I think the community [that] the Folklorico group represents will be very proud to see [its] culture presented with excellence in a beautiful facility," raved Huertas.

Ballet Folklorico -20th Anniversary Show
Saturday, May 15
7:30 p.m.
James Logan High School Center for the Performing Arts
1800 H St, Union City
(510) 471-2520 ext. 60124
jhuertas@nhusd.k12.ca.us

$15 Adults, $10 Children under 12, $12 Students with ID

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