Ballet Folklórico de México in Charreada (photo courtesy of Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University).
Founded in 1952 by Amalia Hernández, Ballet Folklórico de México is known for its vibrant, high-energy programming inspired by the traditional Mexican dance. The company will bring audience favorites and updated choreography to Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre this fall in tribute to its founder, who created over 80 works inspired by traditional Mexican dances for her company before her death in 2000. Amalia Hernández drew upon various resources to create her choreography, including elements from Mexican folklore and codices describing various dances written by Aztec monks.
The company's Chicago program includes audience favorites like Charreada, or "the rope dance," featuring a charro (horseman) who shows off his skills with the lasso; and Deer Dance, which interprets the hunting rituals of the indigenous Yaqui people of Mexico. Other highlights include Tlacotalpan Festivity, a work inspired by the February 2 celebration of the Candelaria Virgin; Life is Like a Game, in which a bride, her groom, and her lover find their lives manipulated by the devil; and Fiesta en Jalisco, which features updated choreography and pays tribute to the charros and mariachis of the Jalisco region. The company also honors the great Mexican composer José Pablo Moncayo, who studied with American composer Aaron Copland and was known for creating music that captured the spirit of Mexico, in the piece Huapango. The costumes and sets used by the company are created specifically for Ballet Folklórico de México, representing the multifaceted cultures of Mexico's different regions.
Directed today by Hernández' grandson, Salvador Lopez, who oversees the process of updating company works in order to keep them relevant and dynamic, Ballet Folklórico de México first performed in Chicago in 1959 at the Pan American Games at Soldier Field, dancing in the opening ceremony. The company has performed at the Auditorium Theatre numerous times since 1970, including its most recent appearance in Chicago in 2015. The company has performed over 5,000 times to audiences around the world.
Tickets start at $29 and are available online at AuditoriumTheatre.org, by phone at 312.341.2300, or in person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office (50 E Ida B Wells Dr, formerly 50 E Congress Pkwy). Box seat tickets, which include a seat in the Auditorium Theatre's upper boxes, drinks, and snacks, may be purchased for $80 (adult) or $55 (for young people under the age of 18). Ballet Folklórico de México is part of the Auditorium Theatre’s International Dance Series (which also includes Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg). Discounts are available at the theater’s website.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts