Five years ago the ballet folklorico group, known as Los Luceros de Osborn, started with three elementary students. On Thursday, a thriving group of sixty members had its most memorable performance ever at the Gallo Center of the Arts in Modesto in front of hundreds of people.
The performers from the Dual Immersion Academy at Osborn in Turlock, which included students ranging in age from five to 12, laid their hearts on the stage while they danced a variety of Mexican folk songs from the states of Jalisco, Michoacán, Chiapas, and Nuevo Leon.
One of the most memorable performances of the night was “El Baile de los Viejitos,” or the dance of the old men that derives from the state of Michoacán. It is a humorous dance where the male dancers wear masks of old people. The dance starts out with aching and hunched over old men, which turned into vigorous dancing combined with trembling, coughing and falling over.
“Ballet folklorico stands for five centuries of folk dancing. It reveals culture, which is the richest form of dance. These dances have been passed down from generation to generation to celebrate the religious and culture aspect of Mexico,” said founder and director of the group Michelle Carrillo. “Folklorico is a mixture of flamenco and polka dance that was indoctrinated from the Europeans when they came to Mexico. The traditional costumes for men are suits known as charros. They also wear big sombreros. The women usually wear bright colored skirts, blouse and ribbons,” she said.
Los Lucero de Osborn has come a long way since the group was formed in 2007.
“Performing at the Gallo makes me feel really good and excited because our group has come a long way, we’ve done a lot of fundraisers to help raise money for the event and also for our costumes,” said Carrillo.
In fact, their performance at the Gallo would not have been possible without the help from the Costa Family Fund, who donated most of the necessary expenses for the event. The Costa Family at the Gallo Center for the Arts supports programs and projects that provide access to the performing arts for underserved students.
Not only is Carrillo the director of the group, she donates her time three days a week to teach the students the elaborate dances.
“I’ve been dancing folkloric songs since I was five in a group from San Jose called Los Mestizos. When I was seven I moved to Modesto and continued to dance. I usually go over home tapes to review the dances and essentially teach my kids what they need to know. We have three levels of performers that include beginners, intermediates, and advanced,” she said.
Carrillo has high hopes for Los Luceros de Osborn. She has her eye on performing at Disneyland in the near future.
“I am really proud of the kids. They really enjoy the culture and it makes me proud to be able to teach them.”