MEChA Kicks Off Hispanic Heritage Month with Ballet Folklorico

MEChA+Kicks+Off+Hispanic+Heritage+Month+with+Ballet+Folklorico

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually from September 15 to October 15. It is a time to appreciate and celebrate the colorful cultures, rich histories, and diversity of the American Latino community. WRHS’s MEChA Club kicked off the celebration when they performed the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico on September 16 on the quad. 

According to Suzannah Friscia of dancespirit.com, dancers with brightly colored skirts, embroidered jackets and hats, and fleet feet tapped out a syncopated beat as the lively music played, and the dancers captured the attention of the students in attendance. The women fan out their skirts, rippling them like waves as they twirl and stamp. This is Folklórico, a dance style with as much complexity, variety, and history as the country of Mexico itself. Folklórico refers to many traditional dances from Mexico’s different regions and states rather than one style.

The dancers practiced every day for a month and were encouraged to represent their culture. 

Genevieve Mijangos, president of Mecha and one of the dancers, was super excited to perform in front of the student body, said, “I decided to dance because I wanted to represent my culture and show it off to the school.”

MEChA stands for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán. It is a student organization that advances higher education, culture, and history. It’s been around since the 1960s during the civil rights movements. It has also helped people promote and find pride in Hispanic culture by getting ahead academically and supporting those who went through a similar path. Since this is National Latin Heritage Month, MEChA is trying to represent a part of Latin culture with the Folklorico. 

“The club is all about promoting cultural awareness on campus, and the Folklorico had the costumes, music, and dance of Mexican folklore, so the club decided to do this,” said club adviser Patricia Gonzales. “We want to show the art of Mexican music, dance, and costumes to our campus.”

MEChA’s interest in performing the Folklorico came to fruition when Jacquleing Ochoa, a PARA on the campus, approached the club, hoping there would be an interest in dancing live. Ochoa, who has danced the Folklorico from a young age, got a tremendous response, and the club members eager to learn the dances filled the spots quickly. Ochoa spent a month of her time with the club members because she wanted to teach the tradition and pass it on through the campus.

In addition to performing on September 16, MECha performed at the Homecoming rally held on September 23.

Zinedine Valdez, vice president of the club and one of the advisers, said he wasn’t nervous initially. Still, when he saw the crowd gathered to watch them, he began to feel the power of the dance as he performed and watched the crowd’s reaction, making the Rally’s performance a more fantastic opportunity to showcase the beautiful dancing. 

“I was excited for Friday’s performance because the crowd was bigger, and we could do things a little different,” Valdez commented.

The MEChA club’s Ballet Folklorico de Mexico was a terrific way to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month. In addition, students saw the many exciting ways this campus celebrates its cultures and diversity. 

If you are interested in joining the MEChA club or learning more about the Folklorico, meetings are held every Tuesday in room 1104, or you can contact Ms. Gonzales at @pgonzalesmusd.net.  

Photos courtesy of Ms. Wayman and Ms. Gonzales