Over Veterans’ Day weekend, friends we met through Latin American Heritage Camp came to visit. And because their daughter, like our daughter, studies ballet, I bought tickets for four of us–the two girls, the other mother, and me–to a performance by Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez. For years, I’ve heard about this company, and now that I’ve finally seen them, I can say, without reservation, if they ever come to your town, or anywhere close, run, don’t walk, to the box office to buy yourself a ticket.
The costumes! The music! The passion! The pageantry! All absolutely fabulous.
The program notes state that Ballet Folklorico was founded by Amalia Hernandez in 1952, and numbers 76 dancers. Hernandez’s goal in starting the company was to preserve the folk dances of Mexico. That she has done, and then some. Every piece was more intricate and involved than the one previous, and just when I thought the choreography and costumes could never top themselves, out would parade a line of mariachis, or a few dozen people decked in quetzal headdresses, or a man lassoing a rope over his head in a breathtakingly display of skill and arm strength.
The girls loved it!
My only complaint–and it’s not a complaint, really, but an observation–is that the floor of the venue stage–in this case, the Marin County Civic Center–was covered with a thick rubber mat. Alas, this is common in performance spaces, but I know from my years of tap-dancing that a wooden floor is what the intricate footwork of Ballet Folklorico cries out for. Rubber deadens the rat-a-tat-tat of the heel drops, turning them into dull thuds.
But this is a small quibble. Ballet Folklorico is a must-see, especially for families like ours. Go!