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While Folkicks finds passion and purpose in supplying you with the best Folklórico shoes on the market, we also love sharing any and all of our secrets to help you carry on the Folklóric tradition with pride. In fact, we feel compelled to, it’s part of our company mission!
From a compilation of interviews with Rafael Valpuesta, Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia, and Amalia Hernandez, the creator of modern-day Ballet Folklórico, we’ve outlined their formulas for Folkloric success.
Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia, a dance scholar, choreographer, and artistic director in Laredo, Texas, shares that understanding how your shoes work is fundamental to creating the classic percussive sound.
In a DanceSpirit interview, Mendoza-Garcia and her colleague Raquel Ramirez break down the key parts of the shoe: toes, balls of the feet, heels, and soles. From there, Mendoza-Garcia explains that, “In Folklórico we use the heel more. We don't shuffle the ball of the foot. We press on it to make a sound with our heel.” This technique is quite different from tap dancing and even Flamenco dancing.
Mendoza-Garcia continues her explanation, “We’re vital to the music because we set the beat.” She clarifies that on some occasions, when there is singing involved, dancers will soften their footwork to showcase the singers’ music.
For a deeper dive into the different parts of Folklórico shoes, give our article, Folklórico Shoes: Simplified, a read!
Rafael Valpuesta, Artistic Director and Choreographer for Origenes Dance Company since 1998, on the importance of ballet basics.
“It doesn’t matter what technique you implement,” Valpuesta commands, “we must not forget that classical ballet is the basic foundation of [all] dance.”
Valpuesta believes that when dancers can master the art of ballet, they can also master the art of controlling their body. This is important in all kinds of dance, but with the precise and complex choreography that characterizes Folklóric dancing, it is crucial.
When working with his dancers, Valpuesta carefully balances the practice of creativity and expressive forms of Folklórico with an understanding and mastery of traditional ballet.
In the words of Amalia Hernandez, choreographer and founder of Ballet Folklórico de México, herself:
“I study as much as possible about a culture… to retain the power and the essence and the vitality of authentic folklore. [But] I use the modern techniques of choreography, design, scenery, lights and costumes because you have to produce an art that you can transmit to the public… You create power from the stage, and power from the public, and this is success.”
Hernandez encourages dancers to immerse themselves into the history of their art to build upon it. Much like Valpuesta, Hernandez feels that learning Folklórico fundamentals unlock a certain freedom to mold your performance to your personal style.
Learn anything new? Share with a dancer that inspires you, and follow us on Instagram and on our blog for all things Folklórico!
Do you have your own secrets to success? Let us know in the comments!