Founded in 1967 by Carlos Moreno Samaniego, the Ballet Folklorico Mexicano has achieved recognition both in the United States and in Mexico. In 1980, the Mexican consulate in San Francisco named the company the official ambassador for ongoing cultural activities with Mexico. It has held that distinction for over twenty years during which time it regularly conducts tours in Mexican cities such as Guadalajara, Oaxaca, Aguascalientes, and Durango.
Drawing on the artistic variety of Mexico’s different regions, the Ballet Folklorico Mexicano has a dance repertory of 120 pieces. Many of these are presented in their traditional form while others have been restaged to include artistic elements from more contemporary choreography. In this way, the indigenous rhythms of Tarascan Indian dances from central Mexico stand in sharp contrast to the Spanish military; and courtship dances from that region. Similarly the African influences that characterize dances from the Gulf of Mexico are juxtaposed by Mexican polkas that mark the influence of eastern European from the north. In her review of the company, Jennifer Fisher, the celebrated dance critic for the Los Angeles Times, noted that the Ballet “has much appeal. They are tightly rehearsed and (their) choreography is inventive.”
The Ballet Folklorico Mexicano maintains an active performance agenda. The company’s yearly “Navidad en Mexico” show at Chabot College in Hayward is a highlight for the entire Bay Area Community. The troupe also tours regularly in the western and southwestern United States.