Cal Poly club mixes heritage and dance

By Micah Tam

College is a place to explore new things, including one’s own heritage. At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, there are a multitude of cultural clubs to explore. One club in particular connects Mexican students with their traditional dances.

The Imagen y Espíritu Ballet Folklórico de Cal Poly club is a “student-lead dance club that participates in various Cal Poly events as well as local community events. Students are encouraged to join in and learn artistic skills, which enhance the participant’s dancing abilities in traditional Mexican regional dances,” according to the Cal Poly website.

By joining the club, students are able to learn about traditional Ballet Folklórico dances which according to the Vanderbilt University Center for Latin American Studies is a “type of dance [that] reflects the traditions, cultures and beliefs of people in a particular region. Folkloric dance expresses the life and spirit of a people through its movement and music. It is both historical and current, preserving tradition yet shifting with the current times.”

Barbara Rodriguez, a first year mechanical engineering major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, shared her experiences joining in the club. She originally started folklórico dancing in elementary school.

“When I came to Cal Poly and learned that here was a folklórico club, I was excited about it because it connects my culture to a passion of mine, which is dancing,” Rodriguez said.

In addition, joining the club has helped Rodriguez further explore her heritage. “I have learned different dances from different regions of Mexico and I am able to compare them all and see how they are similar of different. I am also able to learn more about the regions that my parents from,” Rodriguez said.

The Imagen y Espíritu Ballet Folklórico de Cal Poly club meets every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday for dance practices and perform at many Cal Poly events.

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