Roswell Folklorico performs its 19th annual Noche Espectacular at the ENMU-R Performing Arts Center, Friday evening. Mark Wilson Pho to
Roswell Folklorico brought vibrant colors and cultural music to the ENMU-Roswell Performing Arts Center on Friday, presenting traditional dances and costumes from seven regions during the group’s 19th annual Noche Espectacular. Fifty-eight dancers from the ages of four to 80 entertained an exuberant crowd, and helped to preserve Mexican heritage with more than 20 performances.
The show began with a tropical dance from Veracruz that was choreographed by Sweet Leilani’s, featuring dancers dressed in white to reflect the culture of the coastal state.
“They wear a lot of white because it’s very hot down there, so the white reflects the sun,” explained Frank Herrera, Folklorico director.
Dances from Jalisco brought an array of colors to the stage, as dancers twirled wide skirts to mariachi music with a lot of brass. Other regions represented included Yucatan, Chiapas, Nayarit, Chihuahua and New Mexico.
Herrera, who has been teaching dance for 40 years, said detailed representations of culture provide a rare treat to those unfamiliar with these traditions.
“A lot of people appreciate this from Roswell because it’s something that is definitely a dying art, especially in Mexico,” he said. “So they’re really happy that the United States is continuing with a lot of the culture in the form of dance and music and mariachi.
“For someone who sees it for the first time, it’s like they’re in awe, because they just can’t believe all of the color and the age groups.”
Roswell resident Liz McVay attended for the first time, impressed with the amount of effort put into the show.
“The costumes are beautiful,” she said. “… I just think it’s amazing that they learned all of these different kinds (of dances). They must practice so hard.”
Herrera said Roswell Folklorico prepared for the event all year, with dance classes beginning in August and costumes ordered several months ahead of time.
“We do little performances throughout the year, but this one is our biggest. Everything that we worked on is done,” he said.
Sweet Leilani’s provided decorations, filling the lobby with nets and other fishing equipment that represented all the areas. Mary Hart, Sweet Leilani’s director, said she has worked with Herrera for 10 years, and that her favorite part of the event is what it does for children.
“Herrera does a lot for the children, with scholarships. They learn culture, they learn language, where otherwise a lot of these children, and their parents as well, would be watching TV or doing nothing,” Hart said. “And that’s why I support it 100 percent. …
“And they’re beautiful. It’s not just telling people about the area. From Veracruz, they get Veracruz dresses. If it’s from Yucatan, they’re going to wear white. If it’s from Chiapas, they’re going to wear the beautiful floral dresses that reflect the area.
“So they try to keep it as authentic as possible, and the dances are very intricate.”
Rosemary Chavez, resident, said Friday’s show was her third, and that she looks forward to it each year.
“The little girl who sings is just phenomenal. I mean, it’s a really good show,” Chavez said. “I could say so many things. The costumes, the music, the effort — everything that they put forward to do this every year is just really, really wonderful.”