Tacoma locals gathered in celebration of Mexico and all its cultural richness at México Diverso, an event put on by Trío Guadalevín, Bailadores de Bronce, Ballet Folklorico and The Pantages Theatre. The two hour event gave attendees a peek into the varying heritages within Mexico through a series of traditional music and choreographed dance. México Diverso showcased the beauty of Mexico by transporting audience members up and down the country’s many states, starting with the northern state of Nuevo Leon to the Southern state of Oaxaca.
The program opened with a ceremonial dance sample of Mexico’s ancient indigenous cultures — whose descendants are still alive today. Adorned in traditional headdresses and ceremonial apparel, the dance group Bailadores de Bronce danced in unison to the beat of a single steel drum.
Bailadores de Bronce or “Bronze Dancers” is one of the few dance troupes within the Puget Sound region dedicated to the performance and celebration of traditional dances of Mexico. The group was formed in 1972 by a group of UW students who responded to a need for a cultural outlet on campus. Bailadores de Bronce comes out of the Chicano movement, one where the students sought to express pride in the color of their skin. They united under a common goal of wanting to demonstrate pride in the diverse Mexican cultures — by taking the stage and sharing their talents with the world.
The event continued highlighting the vastness of Mexico’s cultures by traveling to the state of Jalisco — the birthplace of the well-known music, Mariachi. The audience clapped along as the dancers shared not only the music of Jalisco, but the attire as well. The men in their dark, embroidered pant and jacket with matching sombreros and the women in colorful dresses with sleeves perfect for the twisting movement of the dance. Dancers and audience members alike expressed joy through gritos, cultural shouts used to convey happiness and common in many Mexican dances and songs.
In between states, México Diverso’s host Antonio Gomez spoke of history of Mexico’s diverse cultures which are a product of the presence of indigenous peoples, Spanish colonizers and West African slaves. Gomez, accompanied by his band Trío Guadalevín, performed various traditional songs throughout the evening. Trío Guadalevín highlighted Afro-Mexican cultures present in the coastal state of Veracruz through a musical performance of Mexico’s lesser known Caribbean-influenced sounds. When it came time to visit Oaxaca, Trío Guadalevín performed a traditional song that represents the Zapotec indigenous language of the southern state.
México Diverso rounded out the evening by introducing a local group of traditional Mexican dancers — Ballet Folklorico which is comprised of students from Roosevelt Elementary, First Creek Middle School and Lincoln High School. The tri-school dance program allows students to connect with their cultural roots and learn from dance troupes such as Bailadores de Bronce.
After an evening of gritos, applause and deeper cultural understanding, México Diverso came to a close. The event represented how important it is to celebrate a country’s diversity — especially one that has such strong geographic, historical and social ties with the U.S. Keep an eye out for performances by Bailadores de Bronce, Ballet Folklorico and Trío Guadalevín this summer by connecting with them on Facebook.