Alma y Coraz?n

Moving performance reaffirms Pac?fico Dance Company?s mission

By Rosalba Ru
Published on LatinoLA: October 1, 2003

Alma y Coraz?n

True to their art form, Pac?fico Dance Company?s dancers glided along the John Anson Amphitheatre stage giving themselves to the audience. The beauty of the Mexican essence could be seen in every smiling face, in every colorful skirt twirl, and could be heard on every high-pitched trumpet note and every vibrating stomp.

Pac?fico?s purpose goes beyond executing stunning performances, however. ?I want to reach people?s hearts,? says Adriana A. Gainey, General Director and Artistic Director, ?Folklorico is a unique and beautiful dance form and our company is devoted to preserving and showcasing it.? And showcase it they do - in its entire splendor. In fact, the company takes the art form to new heights by intermingling traditional Folklorico elements with techniques borrowed from modern and other dance styles.

Precisely to reflect the group?s constant growth and innovative style, Ballet Folkl?rico del Pac?fico became Pac?fico Dance Company. ?The company is evolving, and I think our new name more accurately represents what we are about. There are so many Folkl?rico groups out there that there is a need to set ourselves apart from the rest.?

Their style is ever-changing, but their mission remains the same: To educate culturally diverse communities as well as provide Hispanic audiences with a forum for developing pride in their own heritage.

Their newest work -- "Madre de Dolores" -- reiterates that philosophy. The performance presents one interpretation of the story of the Virgen de Guadalupe and her role in the Mexican culture. Using historical and traditional sources, the dancers perform several scenes depicting the influence the Virgen has had on the Mexican people, across all cultural, social, and economic boundaries.

The performance was divided in four parts: The Beginning displayed an Aztec ritual interrupted by the appearance of the Conquistadors; The Conversion showed Juan Diego, his vision of the Virgin and his conversion to the Catholic faith; and The Family was a gathering of a family that sets up an altar to honor the Virgin. Finally, The Political presented Father Hidalgo ringing La Campana de la Independencia (the Bell of Independence), calling the indigenous people to revolt, carrying the banner of the Virgin into battle.

?When I look for inspiration to create new works, I think of how I could reach audiences. And what touches more hearts than the Virgen?? said Gainey. Judging from the response the Anson audience demonstrated, she was right.

The premier of Madre de Dolores at the Amphitheatre proved to be powerful and inspiring; it was just one more attestation to the group?s relentless endeavor to reach out through art.

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