UTPA's Ballet Folklórico wins national recognition at American College Dance Festival
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Posted: 03/09/2012
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The Ballet Folklórico of The University of Texas-Pan American was selected as one of three best choreographies from the South Central American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) to advance to the National College Dance Festival in Washington, D.C., in May. The national recognition includes performing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts along with advancing universities from nine other ACDFA regions.

The Ballet presented a piece entitled "Estado de Mexico-Los Mazahaus" for adjudication at the South Central American College Dance Festival hosted by Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas on March 2.

Eleven dance works were chosen from among 48 entries, submitted by 30 universities, to advance to the Regional Gala Concert. In addition, the UTPA Ballet Folklórico had the distinction of closing the gala concert, an honor granted to the overall top choreography by festival adjudicators.

Francisco Munoz, artistic director of the Ballet Folklórico, said the comments regarding the Ballet's performance and choreography by the adjudicators were extremely positive. He said they noted the difficulty and high structure of the choreography, along with its perfect execution, extreme detail to spatial patterns, great variety of rhythms and its sustained energy, among other positive comments.

"I am so proud of the 24 dancers who worked long and hard to accomplish this. They represented the Ballet, the University, and the Rio Grande Valley with an amazing level of professionalism and pride in what they do," Munoz said.

The other two universities advancing with UT Pan American to the national dance festival are The University of Texas at Austin and Texas Woman's University.

The regional adjudicators included: William (Bill) Evans, director of the Bill Evans Dance Company and the Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance; Jeffery Bullock, professional dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Sharir +Bustamante Dance Works; and Dr. Sabrina Castillo Gallusser, artistic director, founder, and choreographer for Momentum Contemporary Dance Company in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

The Ballet Folklórico's national advancing dance suite, "Estado de Mexico-Los Mazahaus," was choreographed by Jairo Heli Garcia Paredes, guest artist from Mexico City, and restaged by Munoz.

The University's student performers are: Robert Alvarez, Vanessa Balderas, Jossue Barajas, Alejandra Barrenechea, Sandra Cantu, Magin Cervantes, Esther Colin, Ricardo Fernandez, Ricardo Flores, Juan Antonio Garcia, Ana Karen Garcia, Zeidy Garza, Erika Gonzalez, Aracely Longoria, Juan Lopez, Monica Martinez, Tanya Miller, Issac Pena, Miguel Angel Pena, Cristobal Rojas, Maria Elena Sanchez, Norma Silva, Andrew Smith, and Max Tijerina.

Learn more about the Ballet Folklórico at their website. The 2012 National College Dance Festival dates are May 24-27; performance dates are May 25-27. Information about tickets for the festival can be found at