At the end of summer in the United States when Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated, due to the coincidence that many of the countries in the region -Mexico and Central America- celebrate national holidays on September 15, the presentation calendar of the Corazón Folklorico company in Washington DC figure busy.
The group created in 2007 at the initiative of the young Mexican-American Alejandro Góngora has become a benchmark of Mexican culture in this region, by projecting the identity of that country through folk dance with regional dances from the south, center and north. from Mexico.
The ensembles of the annual show that includes mariachis and a colorful cast made up of immigrants not only Mexicans but also from other Latin American countries and from other continents, has become an attraction in the seasons of the Gala Theater, the cultural venue of the Ibero-American culture with the highest concentration in the US capital.
The creator Alejandro Góngora comments to the voice of america that the company was born out of the desire to create something different” and that it could bring together immigrants from other countries or first generation like him.
This young dancer and creative director of the company works as an employee in a federal government agency, and is satisfied with “to do something in the community.”
Nothing better than dance -he points out- because since his secondary education in San Diego, California, where he was born and grew up in a Mexican family, he was interested in folk dance, at school and university he found the spaces and in Washington DC he formed a legion of dance and Mexican culture enthusiasts who have joined the project, which year after year receives more requests to participate.
For cultural research
Corazón Folklorico has become the nucleus of work that goes beyond the stage, as evidenced by the historical and documentary research work of Manuel Cuellar, a Mexican who migrated to the United States with his family as a child and today resides in Washington where he lives. He works as a professor of Spanish in Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies at George Washington University.
Her passion and training in folkloric dance in the Aztec country, she says -comes from that systematization of folklore in the Mexican public educational system- and that has given rise to an identity that is expressed “with bodies in movement”.
During the confinement due to the pandemic, this academic focused on research for the book that he will publish in the coming days “Choreographies of Mexico”, whose first edition is English, in which he has investigated the role of folklore and music in the formation of the national identity of Mexico.
To do so, comment to VOA that it has been necessary to review the first decades of the 20th century, from the process of the Mexican Revolution that began in 1910, which coincides with the first centenary of Mexico’s independence, which is celebrated at midnight on September 15.
Also the elements that have had a connection such as the “Mexican nights” celebrations that began at the end of the revolution as a way of giving identity to the project, but that were taking shape and expression through the Golden Age of Mexican cinema that played a role crucial in the unification with classic films such as “Allá en el rancho grande”, from 1936, directed by Fernando de Fuentes and with the iconic photography of Gabriel Figueroa.
The historical process of Mexico’s emancipation from the Kingdom of Spain began in 1810 with the independence war that ended in 1821, and which coincides with the rest of the Central American provinces that disassociated themselves from Spanish rule on September 15, 1821.
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