NUNN'S THEATER HABIT
Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez celebra 70 años
Sun. February 13, 2022 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez is celebrating its 70th-anniversary while landing in Chicago for a short run. Too bad the stay isn't longer because this show remains one of the most festive ballets one will see this year. It is not a ballet in the traditional sense, but make no mistake this talented cast has leg extensions to kick as high or higher than the best.
For those that are unfamiliar, Mexican folklorico dance can be traced back to the ceremonial and traditional dances of indigenous people for decades. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico these dances were brought with them. This show is a celebration of Mexican heritage in all its various forms that keep in step with the spirit and rituals of that past.
The Auditorium Theatre presents only three days for ticketholders to enjoy something that is a wonderful and simply breathtaking explosion of talent and colors. There are shows on February 12 and 13, plus a one-hour student matinee on Monday the 14th for grades kindergarten through twelfth. This show is appropriate for all ages and works as an educational tool for those ready to explore other cultures and traditions.
The various dance styles spotlighted in this particular Ballet Folklorico were founded by Amalia Hernandez in 1952. She created over 60 choreographies in her life before passing away in late 2000. After seeing this show in the '90s it was actually a good thing that not much has changed as far as content and talent.
This young troupe begins with ritual Aztec dances then moves into places in Mexico such as Michoacan and Guerrero displaying a rainbow of colors. After that, spectators will see lasso tricks and flamenco poses to match a variety of costumes. Wooden boxes are brought out that just beg for shin splints as the dancers stomp their boots onto the hard floor. The cast is masked up which makes a whole new challenge for them as many were obviously panting throughout this hour and a half body of work with no intermission. The live singing and playing of the mariachi band were impressive and the crowd obviously appreciated it with several standing ovations and hollering of "Viva Mexico" on the night I attended.
The Danza del Venado or deer dance is always a highlight to watch as the prey is hunted with a dramatic spectacle.
For those of us that are unable to escape the winter in Chicago, Ballet Folklorico takes audience members on a journey that will warm up their hearts. If you missed it this year, don't worry, this traveling show always returns to the Windy City to entertain those that are unable to attend in Mexico City.
Visit AuditoriumTheatre.org to grab a ticket before these amazing dancers leap out of town!