Monday, June 08, 2015

Nuevos Pasos :: Ballet Folklorico

A big moment, all the dances completed, and dancers taking their bows, at the San Diego County Fair!

Maria and I have discussed keeping all of this straight... the dances she's learned, the performances she's been in. And even though they've been at this only six months, I've already lost count. So before there are even more shows to lose track of I am going to sort through photos and archives and write this down...

*Mid-November: First after school class

*January: Picture day for San Diego Fair banners

*February: First Performance, school talent show; La Costilla

*March: Switch, from La Costilla to Jesusita En Chihuahua, at Arts Festival

*April: Jesusita En Chihuahua, at First Thursday Downtown

*April: Jesusita En Chihuahua, at Street Fair

*May: Jesusita En Chihuahua, at Dia De Los Niños, Library

*May: Jesusita En Chihuahua, at school Fiestas

*June: Switch from Jesusita En Chihuahua, to Los Machetes and {with only three rehearsals!} perform at San Diego Fair!

The dresses, and boots are loaned to us from the dance studio, which is fortunate, because it would be a great expense and responsibility to buy dresses for every dance, and keep up with size changes, too. But, I've learned this can also be the reason dancers need to be switched around, especially when the class size increases. The teacher wants to include everyone, and so some dancers, like Maria, get moved up from the youngest (smallest dancers) and into whichever dance there are enough dresses for... does that make sense? It's a shuffling game, trying to outfit every dancer, and choreograph each group.

In the beginning there were the youngest and smallest, including Maria, in one group, and there was a second group of middle school dancers, and they've been dancing Los Machetes since December. An in-between group was created when too many very little girls joined the class, so the tallest girls were bumped to Jesusita En Chihuahua. All along, Maria has been in awe, and full of admiration for the older girls dancing Los Machetes, in their elegant black faldas and blusas. Just four weeks ago she got notice that she and her Jesusita En Chihuahua peers had to learn the big girls' dance, Los Machetes. Only three lessons to catch-up with the dancers who have had six months to learn and master their dance! It's been a bit much, actually, but Maria is so eager to dance, she just hangs in there and keeps at it. And just to be clear... we are not pushing, demanding, insisting, or bribing. When she looks worn out or defeated, I look her in the eye, and ask, "Are you happy?" Of her own will, she assess her state (thirsty, sore, tired, frustrated) and then she restates her resolve to move forward. Having possessed very little of this kind of ambition or devotion to anything demanding stamina and coordination, I am deeply admiring of her perseverance.

Nathalie and Maria, have learned the new steps... nuevos pasos.
{I learned how to crochet a bun cover (for her hair... is that obvious?) and to braid a yarn wrap}


There was a long, hot, wait {two hours} before they danced, and she was well worn out by the end of all of it... but it wasn't too long before she declared, "I think I'd like to do that, again." Maybe the strawberry covered funnel cake helped to revive her! Last night she asked me to sit with her and watch YouTube clips of Ballet Folklorico, and we shared our appreciation for steps, the swirls, the beautiful regional dresses, and styles, the talent and skills. And she said, "I'm not sure if Ballet Folklorico will be my life, if I will dance it when I am an adult, but I do love it, now." She's happy... we're proud.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I love everything about the way Maria, and you, are going about all of this! Such dedication and beauty, such rich heritage and joy. It is a gift she is giving to the world, and to herself. Magnificent.