Ballet Folklórico to dance at soccer game

WSU club helps students learn about Mexican culture; team worried about lack of on-campus practice space



Ballet Folklórico helped club leader Michelle Cordova to connect to her culture and heritage.


One WSU dance group helps Mexican students connect to their heritage through traditional dance and teach other students about Mexican culture.

“It’s a way to get your body moving,” said Michelle Cordova, Ballet Folklórico club leader. “I wanted to do it to provide that to students and bring them closer to their roots, or if they’re not Mexican, so they can learn more about Mexican culture in general.”

Cordova was born in the U.S. but moved to Mexico when she was 2 years old. She came back at 13 years old but felt very homesick. She missed the culture and the atmosphere. Learning about Folklórico helped her to connect and feel closer to her culture by learning the specific steps of Folklórico. Even the songs have their own history, she said.

When she started attending WSU, she found she was not the only person who enjoyed the traditional dance.

“During my freshman year, there was a multicultural talent show, and I performed in it,” Cordova said. “A lot of people came to me, and they’re like, ‘I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance that.’ In a way, it inspired me to start my own [organization].”

The team has eight members currently but is excited about the 44 potential members who signed up during a tabling event.

“One of the goals I have is just to give more exposure, so people know about it,” Cordova said. “I think it is a great club that people are interested in, but just because of COVID, we haven’t had the opportunity to get out there.”

The club accepts anyone, regardless of ethnic identity or experience level.

Member Suzena Arias joined the club her freshman year. She said she thought it would be a good first club to be involved in.

“One of the reasons I decided to do it is because my mom was a Folklórico dancer,” Arias said. “They would do it in her school in Mexico. I thought this would be nice to do so we could talk and connect.”

The club held practices over Zoom, Arias said. Her mom would come into the kitchen and watch her dance. After her practices, her mom would demonstrate the dances she used to do. Arias was amazed her mom still remembered the steps.

The Ballet Folklórico team has been invited to perform during halftime at the soccer game Sept. 9. They will perform two or three songs.

“There is no current stage.” Cordova said. “They are going to try to set it up before the performance, which might take a few more minutes so we might have to take a song. We might have to do just two.”

Cordova has mixed feelings about the upcoming performance.

“I am very excited, that is the first thing, but I am also very anxious because we have nowhere to practice in,” Cordova said.  “I am wondering if we are going to be able to practice enough for us to be where I want us to be at. I do feel like it is a very good opportunity for the club, and it is going to be our first performance ever. I am excited but, again, frustrated.”

Cordova wants to bring awareness that the team does not have very many places to practice. Several rules in place prevent the team from reserving a space on campus because the bottoms of their dance shoes have nails, similar to tap shoes.

The team has been practicing in the parking lot outside Cordova’s house and in nearby basketball courts. She feels frustrated WSU cannot accommodate various cultural dances because they tend to scratch the floor.

“It is important for us to practice with our shoes because they make the tapping sound, and a lot of the time, you have to have the shoes on so you know what tapping sound to make,” Arias said. “It’s part of the dance, and it goes with the music.”

If you enjoy what the club stands for, they accept donations. Sadly, they do not have enough performance attire for all the people who are signing up for the club.

They are also open to performance opportunities.

To contact the club, you can find them on Instagram as @balletfwsu or on Facebook as WSU Ballet Folklórico.