Group celebrates Mexican culture

WSU sophomore revives Ballet de Folklorico club, plans to perform at events

The+Ballet+Folklorico+de+WSU+group+has+previously+performed%0Aat+Mom%E2%80%99s+Weekend%2C+recognition+events+and+graduation.

NATALIE BLAKE

The Ballet Folklorico de WSU group has previously performed at Mom’s Weekend, recognition events and graduation.

ANNIE HAGER, Evergreen reporter

Michelle Cordova decided to lead Ballet Folklorico at WSU with one goal in mind: connecting people to their roots using dance. 

Ballet Folklorico is a new WSU club led by Cordova, sophomore landscape architecture major. She was born in Seattle and moved to Mexico when she was two years old. 

Folklorico started developing around the same time the Spanish Conquest was happening in the Aztec Empire, which was around the 1750s. Folklorico comes from the heritage of Indigenous peoples, Europeans and African dances, Cordova said. 

Maria de Jesus Dixon, organization adviser for Ballet Folklorico, said this club has always been a part of the university, but was revived again by Cordova.

“[Michelle is] determined, always happy and enthusiastic,” Dixon said. 

When Cordova started attending WSU in fall 2019, she said it was a culture shock. Witnessing less diversity at WSU made her more homesick. 

“It is just nice to be able to dance something that has been going on for a long period of time,” Cordova said. 

Folklorico is performed the same way over a generation, which requires a strict way of following specific steps. Cordova said for example, the dancers stomp, heel, stomp and repeat. 

“[It is ultimately] a way to celebrate my culture in a place that isn’t the forefront,” Dixon said. 

There are 10 people who are part of WSU’s Ballet Folklorico dance group, and a few performances have been held during recognition events, graduation and college success programs. 

“I want Mexicans to be able to get closer to their culture, and for students who aren’t Mexican — it would be nice for them to be able to join and learn more,” Cordova said. 

One of Cordova’s favorite memories while leading the club is watching how her students started out and seeing how they improved before things happened with COVID-19, she said. 

“They are quick learners and enjoy doing what they do,” Cordova said. 

Being able to showcase Mexican culture through leading Ballet Folklorico at WSU makes Cordova feel proud. 

“I just knew that dancing is my way of [bringing together] my community,” she said. “I wanted to create a community that people could be able to join.”