‘Our History: Ballet Folklorico’ celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month through music and dancing

Story and Video by Rebecca Particka 

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the traditions of Latinx communities. From September 15th through October 15th, Central Michigan University’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity and several on-campus organizations held events to celebrate Hispanic and Latinx cultures.

This year’s activities included a car show, a Zumba class, and several music-related events.

CMU’s Ballet Folklorico dance group, Ballet Folklorico De La Luz, hosted a presentation about the history of the traditional Mexican dance on October 12th in the Powers Ballroom.

“Ballet Folklorico seeks to show people the stories without words…they get to hear it, they get to see, they get to feel it,” Ballet Folklorico De La Luz’s president Regina Araujo-Pedroza said.

During the “Our History: Ballet Folklorico” event, Ballet Folklorico De La Luz dancers demonstrated their art. In addition to being a part of the performances, Araujo-Pedroza shared information about the origins of Ballet Folklorico and its cultural importance.

Araujo-Pedroza explained that Ballet Folklorico dances represent the range of traditions across Mexico. Each dance style comes from a different part of the country and showcases its regional heritage. Araujo-Pedroza says Ballet Folkloric De La Luz performs seven regional dances.

Araujo-Pedroza believes performing a variety of dances shows how diverse Hispanic culture is.

“It help educates people who aren’t Hispanic and Hispanic people themselves about something that was taken away from us that we can bring back and celebrate.”

Araujo-Pedroza feels that learning ballet Folklorico has helped her connect more with her culture and family.

She felt disconnected from her grandmother because of the language barrier, but Ballet Folklorico helped build a bridge. While visiting her family in Mexico, Araujo-Pedroza and her brother performed for their grandmother. Her grandmother praised them for taking steps to reconnect with their culture.

“It was the first time I heard her say she’s proud of me,” Araujo-Pedroza said.

“Our History: Ballet Folklorico” attendees also felt connected to Hispanic culture.

Freshman Mitchell Basham came to support his friend who was performing. He also attended because of his appreciation for Hispanic traditions.

“I love the joy and the celebration of life. I think it’s so incredible,” Basham said.

Sophomore Macaulay Johnston also came to “Our History: Ballet Folklorico” to cheer on a friend.

“It’s always important to come out and support communities that are providing us with special information about other cultures that make up our campus,” Johnston said.

Ballet Folklorico de la Luz practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. Araujo-Pedroza invites anyone interested in learning more about Hispanic heritage or Ballet Folklorico to attend.