Ballet Folklórico and Mariachi NU spread Latinx culture at their annual spring showcases


Evan Robinson-Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

Mariachi NU performs at their seventh annual spring show. Guitars, trumpets, violins and traditional instruments like the guitarrón and the vihuela make up the instrumentation for the group.

Austin Benavides, Assistant Campus Editor


Flashes of colorful dresses and the sound of trumpets and guitarrónes filled the Ryan and McCormick auditoriums this weekend as Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Northwestern and Mariachi NU performed their annual spring showcases.

On May 4, Ballet Folklórico hosted their sixth annual Colores de la Primavera show. Dancers were clad in traditional dresses, sombreros ponchos and special tap shoes to make the traditional sound for folkloric dance.

While dancing “El Rascapetate,” the performers wore black dresses adorned with bright flowers from the Mexican state of Chiapas. Vicky Delira, the president of Ballet Folklórico, said the dresses were specific to Chiapas’ Mexican culture. The black dresses represented the dark forests of Chiapas, and the flowers symbolized the beauty found within this darkness.

Medill senior Sidney Thomas attended the show and said people should “broaden their horizons” and attend cultural events like Ballet Folklorico.

“It was really colorful, really beautiful,” Thomas said. “I thought that the speed that they were moving at was incredible and the amount of time that they kept that speed — I was getting tired just looking at them.”

An important focus of this show, Delira said, was to represent the various different regions that make up Mexico. Ballet Folklorico performed dances from several different states including Jalisco, Baja California, Chiapas, Sinaloa, Veracruz and Guerrero.

“If all you ever focus on is the Mariachi and the Jalisco, you’re missing out on the great majority of Mexico,” said Delira, a Weinberg junior. “They’re very different styles of music. You can’t dance a song for Veracruz in a Guerrero outfit because everything is so precise, and part of tonight is showing as many of these regions as we can and as much of the music and as many of the costumes and traditional dresses.”

For a part of Ballet Folklórico’s show, Mariachi NU made an appearance, previewing its May 5 spring showcase.

At Mariachi NU’s seventh annual spring show, the group opened with a small performance by Ballet Folklórico, after which the showcase segued from dance into music.

Mariachi NU sang both mariachi classics and new hits during their performance, ranging from “El Cascabel” to Selena Quintanilla’s “No Me Queda Más.” They even included a Disney song in their show, performing a rendition of “Recuérdame” from the movie “Coco.”

Angélica Miranda, music director, violinist and singer, said she was “proud” everyone “put their hearts out” during their performances. Miranda sang lead for the Vicente Fernández classic, “Volver, Volver” a song that she said she holds close to her heart. But her personal highlight of the night, she said, was the performance by Curie High School Mariachi Juvenil.

Mariachi Juvenil, located in Chicago’s South Side, is the longest running student-run mariachi group in Chicago, having performed since 1997. The group has a personal connection to Mariachi NU; Miranda was a member when she attended Curie High School.

Although occurring on separate days, both Ballet Folklórico and Mariachi NU’s spring showcases were focused on fostering a sense of community, Miranda said.

Both shows made an effort to include the crowd in their performances. Ballet Folklórico called up members of the audience to dance to a “Payaso de Rodeo,” a group dance traditionally done at Latinx parties, and Mariachi NU asked the audience to sing along to songs like “Viva México” and “El Mariachi Loco.”

“Mexican culture, Latino culture, it’s not that big here (at Northwestern),” Miranda, a Weinberg senior, said. “We’re in a predominately white institution, so having this space for us is great. Yes, people who are Latinos join us here, but also people who aren’t. So it’s amazing that we just get to share our culture with the campus, the community and Chicago.”

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