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the Long Center, from Inside the Ring

Tag Archives: Ballet Folklorico de Mexico

I remember the first time I saw Amalia Hernandez’s Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. I was nine years old and nestled quite comfortably between my aunt and uncle during a particularly cool summer evening in Mexico. Although I am the first in my family to be born and raised in the United States, I have been fortunate enough to spend almost every summer since I can remember with my family basking in the Mexican sun and attempting to learn how to cook my grandmother’s recipes.

Photo by Robert Shomler

Amalia Hernandez’s Ballet Folklorico holds a special place in Mexico’s heart as it presents its viewer with the richness and vigor found within our culture. Each dance celebrates the different regions and their respective traditions with a beautiful display of gracefully choreographed movements and stunning costumes. Here, Mexico’s rich heritage is displayed right before your eyes.

Photo by Robert Shomler

That evening, I particularly remember being struck by “La Danza del Venado” (Deer Dance) which is native to the Yaqui tribe from the northern Mexican state of Sonora. The dancers reenact a dramatic deer hunt, honoring the cycle of life as well as the white-tailed deer which provided for most of the Yaqui’s needs. This tradition is particularly poignant because it has little to no European influence as the Yaqui fiercely resisted Spanish conquest. Moving to the sound of the reed flute, percussion, rasp and rattle, “La Danza del Venado” invites you to enter the Mexico that is wild and untamed – it is a journey to the authentic Mexico. I gasped with awe at each leap the mighty deer took and was honestly horrified at its fate as the two hunters slowly conquered the beast. To say it was mesmerizing would be an understatement. It taps into the primitive, the wild. It captures the essence of Mexico.

Photo by Joan Shomler

This dance was so memorable for me because it was a part of my heritage that I had yet to experience. Stripped of its oppressive and bloody history, I saw a Mexico that was free and un-inhibited. The sense of pride that I felt that evening was an experience that I will never forget, because somewhere deep down in my nine-year-old subconscious I knew that this was what the real Mexico was all about. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good round of mariachi just as much as the next gal. But what is more meaningful to me is the celebration of the multi-dimensional Mexico, from white-tailed deer to Jarocho.

– Bryana Marrero, Programming Intern
The Long Center

Ballet Folklorico De Mexico will be at the Long Center on October 23. Click here for more information and tickets.

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Ballet Folklorico De Mexico isn’t a typical ballet. It doesn’t look like ‘The Nutcracker’ and it definitely doesn’t look like ‘Black Swan.’ Now we love Tchaikovsky ballets as much as anyone, but the lack of resemblance is actually a good thing.

When dancer and choreographer Amalia Hernández founded Ballet Folklorico De Mexico in Mexico City back in 1962, she gave ballet a somewhat novel twist. As a classically trained dancer, Hernández knew all the things ballet was supposed to be – graceful, elegant, refined, and with just about as little in common with folk art as possible. She just didn’t care about what it was ‘supposed’ to be.

Hernández took the regional folk dances of Mexico and blended them with ballet. This kind of folk art infusion changed the classical music landscape through composers like Antonín Dvořák and Béla Bartók. And while Amalia Hernández might not have the worldwide recognition that Dvořák and Bartók have found, she’s no less of an innovator. Hernández and Ballet Folklorico pioneered the ‘baile folklórico‘ amalgam of Latin American folk dance and classical European dance.

Amalia Hernández’s Ballet Folklorico De Mexico combines the high art of ballet with the ethnic and regional folk dances of Mexico. The dances are often stylized – many of the choreographies are from Hernández herself – but they still retain some of the regional folk traditions that are disappearing from the modern world. But Ballet Folklorico De Mexico isn’t celebrating what their culture was, not who they as a people were; it isn’t a nostalgic nod to the past-tense but a celebration of who they are. A celebration of the idea that your roots are part of you and that ignoring those roots means ignoring a part of oneself.

And we’re looking forward to celebrating all of these things with them.

– Nick Curry, Development Intern
The Long Center

Ballet Folklorico De Mexico will be at the Long Center on October 23. Click here for more information and tickets.

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 The most commonly asked question I get in the box office is somewhere along the lines of: “in your opinion where are the best seats?” Although the Michael and Susan Dell hall is a state-of-the-art concert hall, seating 2400 people, picking a seat can be somewhat intimidating if you’ve never visited us before. To avoid the generalized, “every seat is great” answer, I’ve approached each of my box office coworkers and asked them the question and hopefully – after reading this you’ll be a lot more confident in finding seats for our upcoming season.
Eric Cardona, Box Office Manager, is partial to the Mezzanine Box East seats because “it feels like you’re right in the action, observing the artists at work whether it’s a musical, play or concert.” Especially, for the new and upcoming speaker series, National Geographic Live!, the box seats would definitely put you into the forefront of this exciting new storyteller series.
Susan Griffin, Box Office Manager, is looking forward to the return of The Five Browns, the quintet of talented Steinway piano players performing as the ultimate family act on October 11th. Preparing to bring her family to this show, she favors Orchestra Left, row E seats 101-103 because with the kids there is “plenty of leg room and discreet enough to make a swift exit.”
Daniel Cooper, Lead Box Office Representative, prefers the Mezzanine Center in row A (specifically seat 128) because of the “excellent sightline” and particularly for the unique Igudesman & Joo: A Little Nightmare Music performance set for January 19th, this seat is definitely going to put you at the center of a zany performance of classical music.
Loly Rosas, Box Office Representative and Receptionist, suggests the Parterre Center, row AA seats 126-127 as she is petite this row “allows enough space and height between the row in front of you, nobody tall can obstruct the view.” She plans on seeing Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, October 23rd to celebrate with the superb dance company the richness of Mexico’s history and culture in music, movement and color.
Brandon Strange, Box Office Representative, likes the Orchestra center, row S on either side of the aisle. At a mere, 6’6” there is “plenty of leg room and nobody sitting behind to block their view.” Expect to see him at the performance of Henson Alternative’s Stuffed and Unstrung featuring The Miskreant Puppets, where eighty Henson puppets and six comedians take the stage improvising songs and sketches based on audience suggestions. Recommended for mature audiences.
I, Becky Liendo, Group Sales Coordinator, would like to offer my suggestion as well. I enjoy sitting in the Balcony center, row A seat 116 (aisle seat) because you can definitely get a sense for the overall experience of all the shows. What better way to turn a Long Center event into an experience than with our inaugural Rock-a-LONG Wednesdays series with the internationally acclaimed Jeans ‘N’ Classics band recreating the legendary music of rock and roll legends: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Queen, as the Austin Symphony Orchestra adds a classical dimension?
What’s great about the Long Center are the many theater settings available outside of the Michael and Susan Dell Hall. There’s the small and intimate Rollins Theater, accommodating 200 people for a variety of shows ranging between Austin Shakespeare and the Austin Film Festival. The City Terrace is another location on site that can host up to 2200 people and this season, not only can you see the best view of downtown Austin but while you’re at it, pet a few dinosaurs at Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo™ thanks to the wonders of some incredible puppetry children will have the opportunity to feed, water and care for these marvelous creatures in an unforgettable, interactive experience. The West Lawn next year will be covered by a circus tent as the Zoppe Italian Family Circus bring their 160-year-old tradition of acrobatics, equestrian showmanship, canine capers, and clowns! As a final point, I’d like to mention the free building tours available every Wednesday at noon, should you feel you’d like more information or to get a better feel of the Long Center. If you have immediate questions regarding accessible seating or other general questions please don’t hesitate to call the 3M Box Office Monday-Friday 10am to 6pm at 512-457-5664, option 1 and Saturday 10am to 4pm.

-Becky Liendo
Group Sales Coordinator
Long Center Box Office

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