New Intermediate Class Highlights Continuing Improvements To Free, After-school Ballet Folklórico Class​

For 26 delighted local students last fall, back-to-school meant a new after-school ballet folklórico class at LBC. Wearing brightly colored, voluminous skirts while twirling and stepping to the percussive beat of the music, did they know how lucky they were to have filled the limited number of spots available in the class? Their parents sure did, especially for the students who share a Latin-American heritage. They know that our afterschool mariachi program has been practicing in the building for seven years, filling the background with the sounds of their Mexican cultural practices and history. They know that ballet folklórico is grounded in the values of their Latin-American heritage and their families’ visions for the future. They know that this kind of environment will help make their children stronger, deeper learners.

“Our job is to open up that opportunity and advantage to more students by continuing to expand the program and refine the class to ensure students can reach their potential,” said Tracy Sawyer, LBC’s Community Partnerships Supervisor. “To that end, LBC plans to introduce a second level class next year, allowing current beginner students to level up and advance to more challenging skills, while bringing in a new group of beginners.”

A natural complement to our year-round after-school mariachi program, this year’s ballet folklórico class teaches
entry-level dance skills to students in grades 5 through 12. Led by Victor Ferrer and Vanessa Carrillo of Sonoma
County’s Grupo Folklórico Quetzalen, a school for Mexican folk dance, the new class grew out of the ballet
folklórico program launched at all three of our Summer Camp locations.

As the class prepares for several performances this spring, it continues to refine the program and prepare for next
year’s classes. “We initially planned for a one-hour class, however, we extended it to 90 minutes to allow for proper
warm up and cool down. Also, the class currently meets one day a week. Ideally, we will be able to bring each
class in twice a week, which is the ideal schedule for the students to develop skills.” Finally, everyone recognizes
the hallmark falda, or voluminous skirt, that the female dancers wear. Currently they are using a practice skirt for
performances, and we hope to secure funding to create a proper falda for future performances.

This spring, the ballet folklórico class will perform at a number of events, including the popular and highly
anticipated Music Appreciation Day on Saturday, May 11, from 9am to noon at the Farmers Market on campus.

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