First-generation Americans preserve culture by dancing Folklorico

While every culture and language might be different, there is one thing many have in common: dancing.

Dancing is known as a universal language for many, but for the Oyamel Folkloric Dancers, dancing Folklorico is a way for them to preserve their culture and they celebrate their heritage year-round.

“Everyone just learns more about the culture; we do it all year round. It’s fun,” said Mariana Cortez, Oyamel Folkloric dancer.

Folklorico is traced back to the ceremonial and social dances of indigenous people living in Mexico. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, they brought their music and dances. Even after Mexico’s independence from Spain, immigrants from all over the world influenced their music and dances, so every region and state of Mexico has various styles of Folklorico.

“There are just different steps. Different zapateados, different turns, and it varies based on the region, some regions move their skirts, there is a different faldeo, which is skirt movement,” said Monteen Alyse, Oyamel Florkloric Dance instructor.

The name Oyamel represents something special to these dancers. Oyamel is a forest in the Central Mountains of Mexico, home to the monarch butterfly migration. Most of these dancers are first-generation Americans and endure difficulties and changes throughout their lives, similar to the butterflies.

“I like dancing because it’s part of my culture, and my mom used to do it. So I’m following her steps,” said Adrian Tapia, Oyamel Florkloric Dancer.

For these dancers, dancing is a social event that brings friends and family together and an emotional connection to their ancestors’ music and traditions.

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