Students may have noticed an array of multicolored skirts and the sound of shoes striking the pavement of the stage by the Second Street Parking Garage. What may seem like a frantic form of clogging to the untrained eye is actually a traditional Mexican style of dance called folklorico, and this is the group where UA students can come and learn the steps.
On Monday, Marcella Marin, a junior studying molecular biophysics and biochemistry, clapped out a beat, her bright red skirt sweeping the grass as a group of performers mimicked the rhythm of her movements.
“The reason why we are out here is so we can use our shoes,” Marin said, pointing to a dancer wearing what almost looks like back boots. “You can scratch up a lot of floors.”
Grupo Folklorico Miztontli has been involved in performing for the Tucson community and statewide since it began taking participants in 2007.
“I wanted to create a positive dancing community,” said Denise Garcia, a range management graduate student who is also a founding member of the group. “Most of the people who join have never done this type of dancing in their life. So to see them proud and wanting to show what they have learned makes it great to be a part of the experience.”
Bettina Trujillo, a psychology junior and member of the group said the dancing style people are typically familiar with is called Jalisco. “In the dance you use big dresses and colorful ribbon, but there are over 15 variations of folklorico dances and it all depends on which region it came from in Mexico.”
The next upcoming performance is this Saturday in Whiteriver, Ariz., for the White Mountain Apache Fair and Rodeo where they will perform a traditional Jalisco dance at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. The group also participates in the UA’s Hispanic Heritage Halftime Show every year where they join other folklorico dancers across Arizona and collaborate on a routine.
“It’s exciting for us because we get to showcase high schoolers, and mariachi players and you can see more of a community,” Garcia said.
The group welcomes participants throughout the year but stresses its need for male participants to help pair off their current female dancers.
“We actually for the first time in a while have a boy for every girl in the group,” said Marin, president for the group. “But we want more dancers so it can continue to grow.”