Ballet Folklorico’s Spring Show: Colors of Mexico

On April 7th in the Calhoun Cabaret, Ballet Folklorico held its annual spring show: Colors of Mexico. It was a celebration of all things Mexican, including dancing, chips and salsa, and mariachi. With our special guests, the Mariachi de Brown, our goal was to show Yale the wonder that is traditional Mexico.

We started off each show with dances from the state of Chiapas. The guys featured a white shirt with a red bandana, while the girls had the traditional dresses adorned with various colors of flowers. The upbeat music of both Palenque and Rascapetate got the crowd warmed up, as did our emcee, Alejandro Bustillos (TC 2011).


From there, we moved on to our most dangerous dance. El Baile de Machetes from the state of Nayarit had the girls in different-colored dresses, and some intense machete-fighting action. What could be more exciting than defending someone’s honor with a machete in each hand? The crowd loved it!


After either a performance by Mariachi de Brown or Sabrosura (depending on the show), it was time for polkas from Chihuahua. Four couples, three dances, and black and white matching outfits ensured that the audience was having the best time possible with accordion music.


We then “traveled” to the state of Veracruz, a land of white outfits with red embellishments. The girls stunned the crowd with the solemnity of La Bruja, and then the rest of the group wowed with La Morena, Tilingo Lingo, and La Bamba.


Finally, came the dances most are familiar with from the state of Jalisco. La Negra and La Madrugada featured the girls. The guys joined them in La Culebra, swatting away the invisible snake terrorizing the girls. La Cucaracha continued with the famous tune and the famous embroidered sombrero, while Jarabe Tapatío finished the show with the dance around the Mexican hat.


The two shows were exhausting, but the full audience was on their feet, clapping along to the music, and cheering for their favorite dancers. They even joined in on the dancing after curtain call. Fun for everyone!

In Mexico and many other countries, Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on November 1-2, a holiday where family and friends gather together to remember departed loved ones. A common tradition is to build altars honoring the deceased. These altars normally include photos of the dead along with their favorite foods and drinks. Other traditional items are also placed on the altar, including sugar skulls, marigolds, and pan de muerto. An important aspect of the altar is the representation of the four elements: water, earth, fire and air. A glass of water represents water while salt and fruit represent the earth. Candles are included for fire and papel picado, for the way it moves in the wind, represents air. Another common tradition is to visit the graves of the dead and leave behind ofrendas or offerings. These also include favorite foods and drinks as well as toys for children and alcohol for adults.

On November 4, La Casa had a Dia de los Muertos themed Cena a las Seis co-hosted by Ballet Folklorico and MEChA de Yale. This year, we dedicated the Cena to the victims of 9/11, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the attacks. Freshmen are normally in charge of coordinating this particular Cena and we built and decorated an altar that was displayed in the kitchen during the dinner and in the weeks thereafter while the gallery was also decorated with papel picado. We spent a lot of time together working on this project. We had several meetings deciding how we should decorate the altar, who would get what, and what food we should get for the Cena. It was a time consuming process that culminated with around 90 people showing up for the Cena. While we did eventually run out of food and had to order pizzas, it was still a huge success that allowed us to participate in an important cultural tradition that many of us never participated in before. It was a unique experience working on this Cena and we are proud of the final product.

Ballet Folklorico (BF) was a part of the YASA (Yale African Student Organization) Fashion Show Benefit to raise money for the famine in Somalia. The event took place on Friday November 12th at 8pm at the Morse College Dining Hall.  BF is composed of members of all backgrounds and ethnicities therefore, we participate in a wide array of events on campus.  We modeled 13 different outfits and did 3 short dances: Tilingo Lingo from the state of Veracruz by Katie Aragon, Pelea de Gallos from Chiapas by Liz Cordova & Jarabe Tapatio from Jalisco by Diza Rule and  Charles Kwenin. 

- Brianna Stellpflug ES ‘13 (Co-President of BF)

In Mexico, “El Grito de la independencia” commemorates the Mexican independence day and is lead by the current Mexican president in the National Palace.In an effort to promote cultural exposure, students from YMSO (Yale Mexican Student Association) MEChA de Yale and Ballet Folklorico hosted their own celebration on Old Campus. The event which took place on September 15th and was attended by close to 200 students included “El Grito” (led by members of YMSO), traditional refreshments (including aguas frescas, Mexican candy and pastel de tres leches) and a performance by Ballet Folklorico.

"Founded in 1999, Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Yale continues to grow more than ten years later.  This year, our group gained 10 new members bringing our total member count to 21.  Also, this semester, Ballet Folklorico was invited to perform for multiple events including Yale Peabody’s Fiesta Latina, the Yale Symphony Orchestra’s Halloween show, and Cena Centenaria de la Revolucion, an event held by the Yale Mexican Student Organization and MEChA.  The youtube link shows video from Cena Centenaria de la Revolucion which was many of our new members’ first performance!  If you want to contact Ballet Folklorico, feel free to email us at  Ballet Folklorico is excited for the future and we thank La Casa and the alumni for their continued support!”

                             —Mollie Dibrell, CC ‘12—

                                    BFMdY President