March 3 2010 12:00 AM

Ballet Folklorico comes to the Wharton Center

    Folklorico.jpgAccording to Salvadore
    Lopez Lopez, the grandson of Ballet Folklorico de Mexico founder Amalia
    Hernandez, it was a trip through her homeland that inspired Hernandez to create
    her company.

    Lopez describes the
    initial experience of his grandmother trekking across the regions of Mexico in
    1952, visiting towns and villages and filming the sights and sounds, the colors
    and movements, the ancient ritual dances, the historic traditions and music of
    rural Mexico.

    "She was a classically
    trained ballet dancer and choreographer, and what she did was to record
    everything she saw, all that she took in,” Lopez said, “then bring it back to
    the dance studio and use what she'd filmed to create a more abstract stage
    version for professionally trained dancers.”

    Ballet Folklorico hit
    it big as the equivalent of a national dance company of Mexico. The troupe
    comes to the Wharton Center Thursday, March 4.

    This year marks the
    bicentennial celebration of Mexico's independence from Spain. Lopez brings
    together 40 dancers, 16 musicians and a coterie of costumes in a display of
    dance that is culturally representative of many eras in Mexican history.

    "As a younger
    man, I was myself one of the dancers, performing the rope dance, an elaborate
    dance featuring lassos,” said Lopez.

    A crowd favorite is
    "La Danza del Vernado," or the deer dance, which recreates an ancient
    early Native American ritual dance depicting the ritual of the hunter stalking
    the deer.

    Ballet Folklorico de Mexico

    7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4

    Cobb Great Hall, Wharton Center


    (800) WHARTON