The Ballet Folklorico at Weber State University seeks to both bring awareness to the community about Hispanic and Latin American cultures, and assist students of all ages to dream and to continue forward into a higher education.

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Photo credit: Andres Herbon

The dancers use their passion for traditional ballet folklorico to charm the audience and teach each student leadership skills, hard work, dedication and friendship.

For the past 10 years, the Ballet Folklorico focused most of their attention on a variety of Mexican dances. Currently, the ballet is expanding their dances to include dances from other Latin American countries. They are currently working on dances from Columbia and Peru.

The founder of the Ballet Folklorico is Monica Rodriguez Mesa, who serves as the current advisor of the club. Mesa started the Ballet Folklorico when she was a junior high advisor, working with minority students in the Gear Up program. She saw a need for a program to help many minority students to pursue a higher education.

The group members range from junior high all the way up to college level, each member taking a number of things from the group. President of the Ballet Folklorico last year, Leticia Rodriguez, has been attending the Ballet since she was in 8th grade.

What Rodriguez appreciates the most from the Ballet Folklorico, alongside the welcoming feelings she received in the group, is the importance placed on learning to embrace her roots.

“It’s not only a dance group. The people that are part of the Ballet are different from other clubs. We don’t come just because we need the attendance in the group,” Rodriguez said.

Helping students participate in extracurricular activities, Mesa got in contact with Irimelva Najera Reeyes to be the dance instructor for the group while Mesa focused on the educational side for the members. Reeyes and Mesa combine their efforts to help both members gain both cultural and educational experiences.

Gloria Ruiz has been with the ballet for two years. Ruiz has been in other leadership groups, but never anything cultural like the ballet. “Everyone brings their own perspective to the Ballet in which the others can learn from,” said Ruiz

Rodriguez also agreed and said, “We all come here to learn, along with to share our passion for our culture, with the community.”

The Ballet Folklorico meets in the Shepherd Union every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. in room 208. Those interested in joining the group can get in contact with Monica Rodriguez Mesa at monicarodirguez@weber.edu.

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