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Ballet Folklorico students from three high schools and a junior college are teaming up and will use traditional music and dance performances to keep Mexican and Latino culture alive throughout the Santa Maria Valley.

The "Celebration of Mexican Culture" is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 9th) and Saturday (Nov. 10th) at the Ethel Pope Auditorium, 901, South Broadway. About 100 entertainers from Ernest Righetti, Santa Maria and Pioneer Valley high schools as well as Hancock College will participate.

"The program is festive and colorful, and is filled with a great variety of exciting music and dances reflecting the diverse world of Mexican Latino music and dance,'' said ERHS Marimba Band and Ballet Folklorico Director Ricardo Gabaldon.

The two-hour program will feature ten different regions of traditional Mexican folk dance and several contemporary selections as well. The performance will include dance selections from the Mexican states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Colima, Guerrero, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Jalisco.

Combined with this impressive variety of traditional folk dances will be a presentation of traditional and contemporary Mexican and Latino songs performed by Righetti’s Marimba Band.

The dancers and music students are ready to unite and excite.

Christie Montejano, 11th grade, dancer, 2-year member of Righetti Ballet Folklórico
“Celebration is really special because you can see how hard every group has worked to deliver such a great performance and give the audience a taste of our culture. We've all put so much time and effort into our dances and songs to perfect them. It's exciting to see all the schools come together, and to see young kids looking up to us is such a heartwarming feeling. This experience has taught me so much about my culture. I now feel even more connected to my roots and I’m so excited to be able to share it with others.”

Alex Medina, 12th grade, dancer, Santa Maria High School Ballet Folklórico
“We are all proud to be able to show the public what our heritage has to offer. I invite you to come to Celebration and see all the schools come together as one and show you what we've been working towards. We hope you enjoy the show and keep on supporting us throughout the year with our other performances around the community.”

Cynthia Ramírez, 12th grade, dancer, 3-year member of Righetti Ballet Folklórico
“Celebration is a chance for us to show off and embrace our culture, featuring a taste of the great variety and unique traditions. We come together with Santa Maria High, Pioneer High, Allan Hancock, as a community to give everyone a little taste and acknowledgment our culture. We practice for months to be able to perfect and give an amazing show. Not only has it taught me hard work and discipline but the importance of team work and dedication. We hope you enjoy the show!”

Tickets can be purchased at PVHS, ERHS and SMHS. Tickets are $10 in advance, but it will cost you $12 at the door.

Dress rehearsals are scheduled for Wednesday, November 7th and Thursday, November 8th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ethel Pope Auditorium, providing an ideal photo or video opportunity.


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