Ballet Folklorico at the University of Colima

Teatro Universitario “Coronel Pedro Torres Ortiz”
Colima, Mexico, January 20, 2013

Aztec gods from Act I, Ballet Folklorico at the University of Colima

Act I

Joyas de Mexico
Choreography, musical concept, scenery and lighting design: Rafael Zamarripa Castaneda
Costume design: Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo
Musical performance: Percussion ensemble of Folkloric Ballet from the University of Colima

Canto de Pastores
Musical direction: Jaime Ignacio Quintero Corona
Costume design: Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo

Nacimiento Colimote
Choreography: Rafael Zamarripa Castaneda
Costume design: Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo
Chorus direction: Jaime Ignacio Quintero Corona
Lighting design: Rafael Zamarripa Castaneda

This was the first of ten performances scheduled on Sundays at noon through May 26. I had been to a spacing rehearsal of Act II two nights before, so I was prepared for the energy and competence of the dancers and the clever and appriate use of cliché, but nothing prepared me for the opulence and depth of the opening act.

Act I opens with Aztex gods stepping out into the real world from an image of a pyramid temple stage center high on a riser. They present themselves one by one and interact with one another. The lighting and staging affects are indeed supportive—a full moon rising and setting on the sky stage right, and he mist of ages blowing onto the scene from down stage left. With all this staging and decent choreography I am really returned to prehistory. Then the pyramid is transformed into a cathedral and enter the Spaniards with their incursion and the introduction of Christianity. This last section seemed long and drawn out to me, but perhaps that in itself is the intended statement. All of this—Aztex gods, Spaniards, angels, and crèche figures—made a great Act I.


Act II

Cri Cri “El Grillito Cantor”
Idea, choreography, customs and lighting design: Rafael Zamarripa Castaneda
Music and chorus direction: J. Ignacio Quintero Corona
Custom production: Dolores Martinez, Cuquita de Anda, Angeles Rodriguez, Yolanda Munguia, Ines Miramontes, Ricardo de la Lanza
Scenery design: Jonathan Aparicio Jimenez and Rafael Zamarripa
Scenery production: Jonathan Aparicio Jimenez

I had seen Act II in rehearsal as a delightful satire on contempory dance, ranging from tap, classical ballet, and Limón modern to takeoffs on the Rockettes and other Broadway clichés. But unfortunately in the production, these were not helped by the staging.

Scene from Act II, Ballet Folklorico at the University of Colima
Although every individual piece had its own offering, there seemed to be no attempt to differentiate one from the other. The constant lighting, which appeared not to change from piece to piece and the retaining of that constant “mist from the ages” (the fog machine down stage left) seemed to blur the satiric statement of the choreography. I would have had a change of light for each piece, and then, possibly, each one blown away with a puff of mist, which would have rertaind continuity with Act I.

Maestro Zamarripa is indeed a renaisance man with his master hand and eye on all aspects of this presentation. Despite my Act II discomfort, it is truly a noon hour that I spent well.

—Ruth Grauert, January 20, 2013