UTPA Folkloric Dance Company continues 35th Anniversary Concert Season
Posted: 02/09/2005
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The University of Texas-Pan American Folkloric Dance Company will continue its annual concert series of ALEGRIA 2004-2005, a 35th Anniversary Celebration, on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 12-13 at 2 p.m.; Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 19-20 at 2 p.m.

As part of the 35th Anniversary Celebration, the Dance Company will honor two distinguished individuals who have contributed to the overall success of the UTPA Folkloric Dance Company. Dr. Amilda Thomas and Rafael Zamarripa Castaneda will be presented Distinguished Service Awards for their service and commitment to Mexican folkloric dance.

Dr. Amilda Thomas
Amilda Thomas, professor emeritus, received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from Texas State College for Women and Doctor of Philosophy degree from Texas Woman's University. She was chair of the UTPA Department of Health and Physical Education from 1981-1986. Thomas founded the "Pan Am Dancers" in 1970. The group began as an extracurricular activity for a small number of students who were interested in learning Mexican folkloric dance. Through Thomas's direction, the "Pan Am Dancers" grew into the UTPA Folkloric Dance Company, an established performance dance program in the Department of Health and Physical Education.

Zamarripa is a distinguished graduate of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Guadalajara. His studies have been augmented with residencies at the Polytechnic School in New Zealand, the University of California at Los Angeles, and recently at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. As a member of the acclaimed Ballet Folklorico de México, he traveled throughout Canada, the United States, Central and South America, Europe, the Soviet Union, Scandinavia, Mongolia, Australia and New Zealand.

Rafael Zamarripa
In 1964 Zamarripa founded El Grupo de la Universidad de Guadalajara. In 1980, he founded El Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad de Colima, where he currently holds the positions of general director, choreographer, lighting, set and costume designer.

In further celebration, a reception following the Feb. 19 concert will recognize alumni who have been members of the "Pan Am Dancers," "Pan American Folkloric Dancers" and the "UTPA Folkloric Dance Company" over the past 35 years. The Folkloric Dance Company is requesting all alumni to please contact the Dance Office at 381-2230 for further information concerning the reception and to update their mailing addresses.

The UTPA Folkloric Dance Company will also incorporate a special project entitled "Dance Supports Our Troops." The Dance Company will provide complimentary passes for the immediate families of the Valley's military men and women serving in Iraq. The Dance Company's wish is for the families to join them for a couple of hours and allow the Company to transport them into a place of enjoyment and entertainment as ALEGRIA 2004-2005 brings to life the color, drama and excitement of Mexico's dance and music. Families interested in obtaining their complimentary family pass should contact Michelle Jorgensen, project coordinator, at 956/383-3121.

ALEGRIA 2004-2005 will feature a collection of choreographies by Zamarripa, who visited UTPA in 1984 and1994 when the company celebrated its 15th and 25th anniversaries. As guest lecturer/choreographer, Zamarripa set two choreographies on the Dance Company: Corridos Mexicanos and Puebla. Zamarripa's Zacatecas and Chiapas choreographies will be restaged by Francisco Muñoz, UTPA Folkloric Dance Company's artistic director.

Members of the 2004-2005 UTPA Folkloric Dance Company are: Nadia Avalos, Cesar Galván, Raúl Galván, Juan Antonio García, Juan Antonio Gauna, Elizabeth González, Jenna Guzmán, José Martín Hinojosa, Juan José Leal,María Aurelia Leal, Juan Carlos López, Vanessa López, Aimeé Maganda, Romeo Iván Montemayor, Jaime Noriega, Rebekah Quintero, María Luisa Rafols, Cristóbal Rojas, Sara Sanchez, Karla Yvonne Uvalle, Kaleena Marie Valdez, Deandra Celeste Villarreal, Ismael Villarreal and William Watts.

The Company of 24 dancers and live musical accompaniment provided by Mariachi México Lindo will create a spectacular collaboration of music and dance. As the Folkloric Dance Company celebrates its 35th Anniversary it continues to be recognized as one of the most active and visible university folkloric dance groups in the Valley, state and nation.

All concerts will be held in the UTPA Fine Arts Auditorium located at the corner of Miguel Nevárez and University Drive. Adult ticket prices are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets for children and UTPA faculty/staff/student are $5 and will be available at the door. Advance sale adult tickets are available at the IBC Branches inside the Wal-Marts in Alamo, Brownsville, Edinburg, Harlingen, McAllen and Mission. Tickets are also available at the IBC Bank locations in Pharr, South Padre Island and Weslaco. Tickets can also be purchased at the UTPA Payments and Collections Office.

For additional information, contact the Folkloric Dance Company office at 956/381-2230 or via e-mail at