LANSING, Ill. (August 26, 2017) – A crowd of about 700 people from Lansing, Lynwood, Dyer, Schererville, and beyond filed into the auditorium at Memorial Junior High School for a two-hour performance—México en el Corazón—by Guadalajara’s Ballet Folklórico. The performance troupe is visiting the United States as part of a collaboration with NAIMA (North American Institute for Mexican Advancement) and the Guadalajara government. They will cover 7,000 miles in 30 days.
The tour includes 17 live shows in 14 cities in states with the highest Mexican population: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Texas, and Illinois. The group chose Lansing, Illinois, because of the vibrant, hardworking, and growing Latino community, which has similarities to the people of Jalisco, Mexico. The Federacion Jalisciense, a group of hometown associations from Jalisco, sponsored the event to “build bridges between Mexican-Americans in the United States and Mexicans in our native state of Jalisco, in the knowledge that improving communities on both sides of the border strengthens both countries and improves the lives of all people.”
Information provided by the troupe’s publicity team explains that the Ballet Folklórico was formed in 1984 by Guadalajara’s Secretary of Culture, to preserve and share the traditions, music, dances, and folklore of Guadalajara. They have toured internationally as ambassadors of Mexican folklore. The Federacion Jalisciense, a group of hometown associations from Jalisco, Mexico, sponsored the event to “build bridges between Mexican-Americans in the United States and Mexicans in our native state of Jalisco, in the knowledge that improving communities on both sides of the border strengthens both countries and improves the lives of all people.”
Dr. Cecilia Heiberger, Superintendent of School District 158, welcomed the ambassadors by saying, “It gives me great pleasure to welcome the dance troupe, and to be celebrating the fine arts of Mexico and its contributions to our United States as well. I love that my family’s here, and you may not be aware, but yo soy Mexicana!” (“I am Mexican.”)
Mayor Patty Eidam also spoke words of welcome: “On behalf of the Village of Lansing, ladies and gentlemen, welcome. We’re very excited to have this production here today, and we’re all looking forward to learning something new about the culture.”
From Lansing, the Ballet Folklórico takes México en el Corazón to Cicero, where they will perform on Tuesday. On Wednesday they perform in Chicago’s Millennium Park. All performances are free.
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