New York Fusion Ballet Delights Audience

Two dancers with the New York Ballet Neplanta during La Valentina show dance to Las Adelitas. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Thirteen young adults from a New York dancing team that fuses classical ballet and contemporary, West African and Mexican folkloric dances was the highlight of a noche de gala at Los Fresnos high school auditorium.

Called Ballet Nepantla, the group danced to 19 songs as part of Valentina, a collection of songs related to the roles women played during Mexico’s pre and revolutionary life.

The songs included El Pueblo del Sol, Viva Mi Desgracia, La Malaguena, Las Adelitas, Juana Gallo, Coronelas, La Negra Noche and Yo Me Muero Donde Quiera.

Nepantla takes is name after a word used by the Nahuatl-speaking people of Mexico to describe how they were caught in between two worlds, meaning in the middle of the Spanish and the Mexican culture.

The evening of dance and music, which also included superb presentations by dancing teams from the school district performing arts, brought people to their feet.

“Bravo! Bravo!” could be heard repeatedly by those in the audience, as well as “Arriba! Arriba!”

Gonzalo Salazar, the district’s superintendent, said this was the first time they bring a ballet team from New York City.

“Enjoy the show,” he told the audience,” as you are going to be treated to something very special.”

Salazar said he was proud to know that two members of the team came from the Rio Grande Valley.

He was referring to Francesca Iannelli of McAllen and Andrea Guajardo of Edinburg.

Guajardo is the founder and artistic director of Ballet Nepantla.

For Yolanda Castillo Ruiz and Maria Elena Olvera, the concert was above and beyond what they expected.

“Wow!” Olvera, a graduate from the class of 59 of Los Fresnos high school, said. “I love it!”

Castillo Ruiz, a former resident who now lives in Brownsville, said she also glad for watching the ballet.

“I am very proud of the school district for bringing this show tonight,” she said.

“My hat is off to the young lady from Edinburg (who founded the ballet).”

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