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May 15, 2018 > Concierto de Primavera commemorates Mexican culture

Concierto de Primavera commemorates Mexican culture

By Toshali Goel

Ballet Folklórico de James LoganÕs annual spring concert, ÒConcierto de Primavera,Ó will feature traditional dances originating in Mexico and a Mariachi band as a celebration of Latin culture and history. The Saturday, May 19 performance will take audiences on a Òtrip throughout Mexico,Ó honoring regions from Tamaulipas and Chihuahua to the southern Sinaloa and central Mexico City.

Ballet Folklórico de James Logan was founded by Jaime Huertas, a counselor at James Logan High School, in 1990. Huertas began dancing 10 years prior with two companies: Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Carlos Moreno, a professional dance company based in Oakland, and Ballet Folklórico Mexico Danza in Hayward. ÒHe found a passion for dance but more than anything had a passion for his students and wanted to give them something that he knew would help his community and would empower the students,Ó said current Logan co-director Claudia Rodriguez. Co-director Lisa Moreno added, ÒA few students came up to him and asked him if he would teach them a few dances for Cinco de Mayo celebrations, and it grew from there.Ó

Huertas is originally from Puerto Rico, and over the years, the spring production has come to include dances and art forms from Puerto Rico as well. The main focus of the high school group is to share and empower Latinos and non-Latinos alike by introducing history and culture to them through dance.

After HuertasÕ retirement last year, the group was passed down to Rodriguez and Moreno. Both have years of artistic experience Ð Rodriguez started dancing for the ballet Folklórico as a sophomore in high school and continued to dance after graduation with Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Carlos Moreno, while Moreno has danced since she was five years old. Both share a vision for their production to further educate their students about loving and appreciating their culture and the country of Mexico, as well as about the theory of dance. Since its creation, the spring production has been enhanced and enriched with different dances, with the exception of a few of the staple performances such as the traditional Jalisco dance. Moreno and Rodriguez both want to honor more regions in Mexico and make this performance the most authentic and true that it can be with renewed vivaciousness and memorability.

Dancers began preparing for this production in September, and both Moreno and Rodriguez spoke about the tremendous effort put forth by the students. ÒThe amount of preparation that went into the performance I feel is difficult to measure with simple numbers or time,Ó said Rodriguez. ÒCountless hours at practice, from when the students are beginners to now from learning the basic zapateados (footsteps) to skirt work and posture and partner interaction. This year I feel theyÕve had to work even harder to accommodate to the changes that have come by due to the change in directors. ItÕs mentally and physically straining and the [they] put their 110 percent in all the time.Ó

ÒI hope that [audiences] will take away a new appreciation for the country of Mexico and also an appreciation for the dancers and students and all of the hard work that goes into putting a production on like this,Ó said Moreno.

Concierto de Primavera
Saturday, May 19
7:30 p.m.
James Logan High School
Center for the Performing Arts
1800 H St, Union City
(510) 552-1621
Tickets: $25 adults, $15 seniors, $10 children 12 and under

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