Preserving culture through education, celebration
Mexican Heritage Society to present ‘Fiesta 47’ Saturday
Gloria Moreno said the art of folklorico wasn’t always treated with the respect it deserves.
Moreno, director of the Mexican Heritage Folkloric Dancers in Port Arthur, said each detail in a Ballet Folklorico Herencia Mexicana performance is an added layer to the art that’s actually more about communication than dancing.
“Folklorico is an absolutely beautiful art form that has not always been appreciated as such. Folklorico is so much more than pretty girls in pretty dresses,” Moreno said Tuesday afternoon. “Every detail is part of the story for each individual dance. Every dance we do is educational and preserving our culture.”
Moreno said the Mexican Heritage Folkloric Dancers spend all summer learning and preparing new dances to share with the community for the next year. But before they perform the new routines anywhere else, Moreno said, the Folkloric Dancers host a recital during the Mexican Heritage Society’s annual Fiesta.
The Mexican Heritage Society of Port Arthur will present “Fiesta 47” — the community-wide celebration of tradition, heritage and culture to commemorate Mexico’s independence from Spain — Saturday in the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.
“The entire day is a celebration of Mexican traditions and the spirit of Mexican culture,” Moreno said. “From the food to the music to the entertainers — and, of course, the Folkloric Dancers. We’ve become the heart of the society now. When people think of the Mexican Heritage Society, they think of the Folklorico Dancers and the Fiesta.”
Moreno said folklorico is so central to celebrating Mexican heritage and culture because its stories lay at the heart of Mexican identity.
“In ancient times, this was our texting — the dances conveyed information through the story, the steps, the dresses, the costumes, the presentation,” Moreno said. “Everything about it is so specific you can learn everything you need to know about a people from their dance.
“The tips of the toes and the heels on their shoes are covered in little nails. That’s what makes the percussion sound as they dancers move with the music. How they make those sounds and the different types of sounds they produce are very particular to the region the dance is from.”
The Mexican Heritage Folkloric Dancers’ recital is scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. — an educational afternoon break between the morning and evening activities.
Fiesta 47 will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday with an opening ceremony by Port Arthur Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince followed by the Baby Costume Contest, showcasing newborns to 3 year olds modeling traditional Mexican costumes.
Festivities from the opening ceremony to closing time include traditional music and food, face painting, and raffle prizes including a 55-inch smart television. Pageant coronations in various categories will build up to the crowning of Miss Mexican Heritage 2015-16, who will win a Mexican Heritage Society scholarship.
Daytime entertainment is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and includes live Mariachi music, local singers and the Mexican Heritage Folkloric Dancers’ recital.
Evening entertainment is scheduled from 7 p.m. to midnight and includes performances by Internacional Sonora Carnival from Houston and La Nueva Maravilla from San Benito, as well as local artist DJ Flashback.
Daytime admission is $15 for adults and $10 for senior citizens 55 and older and children 11 to 17. Children 10 and under get in free. Evening admission is $20 for all ages.
The Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center is located at 3401 Cultural Center Drive in Port Arthur.
For more information about “Fiesta 47,” visit www.mexicanheritagefiesta.com or call (409) 673-3817.