Student Organization Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Through Dance
Sept. 23, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton
Story by Mikah Boyd
Ballet Folklórico of SHSU is a campus organization that shares Mexican culture with the Bearkat community through dance. This award-winning group’s performances have made them sought out by organizations and foundations outside of the university and recognized in various publications.
The group has not only made an impact on those attending performances, but on those performing as well. The current president of Ballet Folklórico, Fernanda Sanchez, sees the organization as an opportunity to connect with fellow Bearkats on a cultural level.
“While it was an exciting time, the transition into college was not easy. I moved from San Antonio, which is predominantly Latino, to Huntsville, where it was hard to find people I could connect with in a cultural sense,” Sanchez said. “Thankfully, when I came to SHSU, I was able to join Ballet Folklórico and my whole college experience was changed. I had found my home.”
Sanchez originally came to SHSU to study criminal justice to become an immigration defense attorney but has been guided towards victim advocacy by professors supporting her dream of making a difference in her community.
She has been dancing for six years now and feels that dancing helps her reconnect with her roots. She has also found this to be the case with audiences that express appreciation for the students’ dedication to keeping the traditions alive.
“As the president of Folklórico, it is an honor to keep this organization going and to teach different regional dances that have been part of the Mexican culture for years,” Sanchez said. “I enjoy spreading Mexican culture on campus through our members. Most importantly, I have enjoyed bringing the Latinx community together. I now feel like we stand out instead of trying to fit in; and when we dance, I know there are people in the crowd who feel connected to Mexico as well.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Ballet Folklórico collaborated with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion to host the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration on campus. This event, as well as others hosted throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, aim to recognize and celebrate members of the Latinx community here on campus and beyond.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is very important to me because it is a way of celebrating the independence of Mexico as well as the independence and contributions of other countries in Latin America,” Sanchez said. “I think this is a great celebration that recognizes that individuals from Latin America are also part of the diverse society in America.”
If you missed the chance to witness Ballet Folklórico’s performance on Wednesday, there will be other opportunities to see the traditional Mexican dances. For more information about Ballet Folklórico, visit their Facebook page or attend one of their informational meetings.
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