Cultural Program Celebrating 40 Years of Dance

By Jesús Aguado

The Folkloric Ballet of San Miguel de Allende has turned 40 years old. As part of its celebration, it has prepared a special cultural program.

Teacher Gloria Rodríguez (who has received recognition from traditionalists, including Luis Ferro de la Sota, organizer of the International Congress of Universal Brotherhood;) José Luis Chagoyan, Assistant Mayor; and Eleazar Romero, is responsible for the ballet’s existence.

Gloria Rodríguez commented that since she was a child, she has been in love with activities that required a lot of motion. When she was in primary school, she fell in love with the music, the movements, the colors, and the dresses of the Mexican regional dances. She went on to continue her studies in the United States, but she never forgot her roots. When she was 20, she came back to the city and started taking professional ballet classes at Bellas Artes. A few years later the Bellas Artes center closed, but she did not surrender and kept taking dancing lessons. She later formed the first folkloric ballet of San Miguel in 1975.

That year, the Celaya Institute of Culture published a state call for participants in a folkloric dance contest. The contestants had to present original dances. Navarrete decided to participate with her group, presenting “Traditions of My Town,” a dance that included all the intangible heritage of the city: the locos from San Antonio, the colored and giant stars of the Alborada, mojigangas (giant puppets) and indigenous dancers. “And we won the contest,” she said.

That contest gave Rodríguez and the group strength to continue working and representing San Miguel de Allende and the state of Guanajuato across the Mexican Republic. Up until now the members have been in more than 1,200 cities, and the group has been appointed by the city council as the official ballet of San Miguel.

In the mid ’90s Gloria Rodríguez Navarrete was invited to a cultural exchange in Dallas, Texas, there is the Guanajuato Institute of Culture. She prepared Christmas plays, folkloric dances, altars, and more. When she left San Miguel, Martha Rodríguez took the direction of the group, always following the advice of Navarrete, who is now in charge of the Traditions Department of the local administration. Regardless of internal problems the ballet has had, “We will turn 50, and there will be a committed ballet for years to come” said Gloria Rodríguez.

Check the cultural program in Festivales y Eventos of Qué Pasa


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