Student organization preserves Mexican culture through dance

Grupo+Folkl%C3%B3rico+Ocotochtli+performing+at+the+%22Soy+M%C3%A9xicano%22+show+May+2019.+Photo+credit%3A+Photo+courtesy+of+Adriana+Miranda
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Student organization preserves Mexican culture through dance

Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli performing at the

Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli performing at the "Soy Méxicano" show May 2019. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Adriana Miranda

Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli performing at the "Soy Méxicano" show May 2019. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Adriana Miranda

Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli performing at the "Soy Méxicano" show May 2019. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Adriana Miranda

Brianna Benitez

Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli is an organization dedicated to preserving the legacy and pride of folklórico dance and tradition.

Folklórico is traditional Mexican folk dancing that focuses on showcasing Mexican culture through elaborate costumes, choreography and scenery.

GFO has been a student organization at Texas State for over 20 years. Ten students joined together November 1993 to perform a traditional folklórico dance at the annual homecoming talent show. After winning the event, the group decided to form an official student organization.

GFO consists of eight members and is directed by Victor Briseó, music education senior.

As director, Briseó focuses on choreographing the organization’s performances. Briseó said he has been dancing folklórico for over 15 years and was introduced to the dancing by his father, a professional folklórico dancer and instructor.

Briseó has been a part of GFO since his freshman year. He said being a member has provided him with a support system and connected him with individuals who share a similar passion for folklórico.

“When I first came to Texas State, I didn’t know anyone and I felt really alone,” Briseó said. “Being in GFO has helped me come out of my shell and realize there are people I can count on.”

Traditionally, folklórico performances represent a specific region of Mexico. The way folklórico performers dress plays a vital role in how they express the distinct region’s culture.

Dan Estevez, biochemistry senior, is GFO’s wardrobe manager. Estevez is responsible for ensuring members have the proper attire to appropriately represent the regions they embody in their performances. Estevez said if the group was to perform a dance influenced by the Mexican region of Jalisco, they would wear multi-colored costumes.

Estevez said he was interested in joining GFO after he saw the organization perform at the Hispanic Welcome Reception his freshman year. He was first introduced to the dance style in high school when he was a member of a similar folklórico group. However, unlike GFO, Estevez said he was directed by an instructor that did not work well with the group.

“I was under an instructor that saw us as children,” Estevez said. “Here in GFO, I have a chance to voice my input and can communicate with my group when we have our differences.”

Estevez said performing with GFO gives him the freedom to express his concerns and allows him to work together with a like-minded and talented group of individuals.

Adriana Miranda, nutrition and foods junior, has been in GFO for two years and serves as historian. Miranda has been dancing folklórico since she was 10 years old.

Miranda joined GFO as a way to embrace her Mexican culture and continue her love for dancing.

“When I came to Texas State, I didn’t really have a lot of Mexican friends,” Miranda said. “There weren’t a lot of people I could relate to and I wanted to find something where I could spread my culture.”

Miranda said anyone interested in GFO can join; no dance experience is required and students from any background are welcome to participate.

“We want people who like dancing and want to learn about Mexican culture,” Miranda said.

GFO holds rehearsals every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Music Building, room 222.

Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli is currently rehearsing for an encore showing of “Soy Mexicano,” a performance done in May 2019.

The production will feature GFO as well as two other student organizations: Mariachi Nueva Generacion and Mariachi Lince de Oro.

The production showcases a story following two Mexican-American high school students, Art and Brenda, played by musical artists.The story revolves around Art and Brenda’s experience as they travel to Mexico for a family reunion.

GFO will represent the Mexican regions of Veracruz, Jalisco and Aquas Calientes in their performance.

Lisette Sandoval-Perez, theatre education junior, serves as GFO’s manager and is responsible for organizing meetings and performances.

Sandoval-Perez said attendees of the “Soy Mexicano” performance can expect to witness an amazing show. All music will be performed live by Mariachi Nueva Generacion and Mariachi Lince de Oro.

“It’s going to be grand,” Sandoval-Perez said. “There’s going to be so much going on and it’s a show people will miss out on if they don’t attend.”

Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli will perform “Soy Mexicano” Sept. 14 and 15 at the Magik Theatre at 420 S Alamo St. in San Antonio. For performance times and tickets, visit the Magik Theatre website.

To stay up-to-date with Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli, follow the organization on social media @txstgfo on Instagram and Facebook.

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