World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Grupo Folklórico Raíces de Mi Tierra

First Appearance in SF EDF: 2004

Raíces de Mi Tierra was founded at CSU Sacramento in 1995 by Roxana Reyes to create a family of college students and alumni dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Mexican dance. In 2012, the group expanded to include “Raices Infantil”, a children’s performance company, and welcomed the talented work of instructors Gloria Rodriguez, Karen Angel, and Fernando Castro to the organization. The company has a strong commitment to community: it produces and presents performances, hosts workshops, and teaches folklórico dance in local schools.


Danza de Ferrocarrileros (Dance of the Railroad Worker), Las Bordadoras (The Embroiderers), Vista Alegre and Viva Aguascalientes
Roxana Reyes
Gloria Rodriguez
Karen Angel (Instructor), Edith Becerra, Fernando Castro, Moises Cordero, Esteban Escobedo (Trick Roper), Faustino Fuentes Garcia, Jasmine Gonzalez, Fabián Iglesias, Martha Michel, Casandra Ayala Noriega, Omar Quintero, Roxana Reyes, Arturo Rodriguez, Sara Rodriguez, Emilio Ruiz, Lita Sandoval Nicole Vargas, Ramona Villarreal


La Feria de San Marcos is a suite of dances from the San Marcos Fair in Mexico’s northern state of Aguascalientes.

The festivities open with Danza de Ferrocarrileros—The Dance of the Railroad Workers, bringing us across the state to the Feria Nacional. The word danza refers to folk tradition, as differentiated from ballroom dance. In Las Bordadoras, or The Embroiderers, the women dance with happy expectation, hoping to earn the tiara of festival queen. Vista Alegre and Viva Aguascalientes bring lively displays of regional music and dance, including a show of floreo de reata (trick roping), couples pairing, and the energetic celebration Aguascalientes is known for.

The San Marcos Fair began as a small indigenous religious event in the 1600s. In the 1820s it grew larger, as a harvest festival, and today it’s a national fair, lasting three weeks. Several million visitors celebrate St. Mark, and they celebrate with just about everything from food, high fashion, nightclubs, and theater, to cockfights, wild animals, rodeo, casinos, and bullfighting. The fair has also become a yearly showcase for the arts, especially contemporary music and folkloric dance. The dances presented today were created for the San Marcos Fair by two of Aguascalientes’s talented and influential folklorico choreographers: Maestro Jorge Alfredo Rodriguez (Vista Alegre) and Jose Luis Sustaita (Viva Aguascalientes, Ferrocarrieleros, and Bordadoras). Raices de Mi Tierra learned them in Aguascalientes in 1998 from Professor Jose Luis Sustaita Luevano. Gloria Rodriguez staged today’s presentation.

The wardrobe is in the regional, semi-formal festival style. El Charro, the horseman, wears fitted pants and short bolero jacket, his finest silver corbatin tie, and sombrero. The women wear colonial dresses with panels of lace and embroidered grapes, flowers, or fighting roosters.


Title: Costa de Sinaloa: Vuela Paloma, De Mazatlán a Acaponeta, El Novillo Despuntado, El Toro Mambo, and El Sauce y la Palma
Manuel Alejandro Pérez
Irma Abella, Regina Abella, Sarah Abella, Karen Angel, José Borrego, Roxana Borrego, Evelia Fernández, Angelica Hernández, Abelina López, Victor Medina, Luis Navarro, Manuel Pérez, Laurie Perry-McCord, Alvaro Ramírez, Osvaldo Ramírez, Lorena Ruedas, Emilio Ruíz, Antonio Sarabia, Mario Sosa
Banda Perla Azul

Costa de Sinaloa honors the Mexican state with a suite of courtship dances and regional celebrations. The men's characteristic dance style—strong high-knee steps, dipping and breaking to the side, and rolled-up sleeves—emphasizes masculinity, while the women’s dance emphasizes femininity, with smooth moves across the dance floor and the flash of floral skirts, white blouses, and vibrant flowers.

These five songs and dances from Sinaloa show a deep appreciation for nature, agriculture, and livestock.

1.) In Vuela Paloma, "doves" soar with wing-like sleeves

2.) De Mazatlán a Acaponeta sings of marching between two important cities in Sinaloa

3.) El Novillo Despuntado sings: I am looking for a young bull and searching for love between young men and women

4.) El Toro Mambo enacts the vitality of a bull and expresses the joyful and loving nature of the people of Sinaloa

5.) El Sauce y la Palma, speaks of love and nature—The Sauce tree and the Palm sway calmly together/ Soul of my soul, you are beautiful

Sinaloa is a narrow strip of land on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Fertile valleys and rivers bless its agricultural center, and it was traditionally home to Cáhita farmers. During colonial rule, Spanish and French "recruited" Mayo, Yaqui, and Acaxees to work in their fields resulting in the creation of Sinaloa’s folkloric traditions. Native musicians—who played strings and percussion— were influenced by Austrian marching bands, polkas, and waltzes, and incorporated brass instruments from German immigrants. The result was the wonderful hybrid music called tamborazo, which evolved into the banda of Sinaloa. The bass line is carried by a tambora bass drum and the sousaphone (tuba). The alto horns play rhythmic chords; trombones and trumpets fill-in; and singers carry the melody.

Manuel Alejandro Peréz choreographed Costa de Sinaloa, and taught it to the company. The dances combine songs from Sinaloa with favorites from Raíces' repertoire.


TITLES: Feria de San Sebastián- El Vals de Chiapas, El Alcaraván, El Cachito y Rascapetate, El Llorón
CHOREOGRAPHER: Emilio Ruiz, inspired by Martha Arévalo's Chiapanecan folklore
Irma Abella, Regina Abella, Sara Abella, Karen Angel, José Borrego, Roxana Borrego, Evelia Fernández, Angélica Hernández, Marcelo Hernández, Abelina López, Victor Medina, Luis Navarro, Manuel Pérez, Álvaro Ramírez, Osvaldo Ramírez, Lorena Ruedas, Emilio Ruiz, Antonio Sarabia, Mario Sosa
GUEST MUSICIANS: Mi Bella Guatemala with Director Osvaldo Monterrozo

Ancient Chiapacorceños honored the sun, Nombobí, in the last month of the Mayan calendar; Nbarenyhicos danced through the town in carved masks, grand headdresses of ixtle, and capes. In 1867, Spanish Catholics decided to supplant this solar celebration with Christian holy days, and a new story developed: It was said that Nbarenyhicos had miraculously cured a paralyzed Spanish boy—they had painted masks to look like the boy, and danced so delightfully that the boy was cured. The ancient dances became known as La Danza para el Chico, or "Dance for The Boy." The rays of the sun on the penacho headdress became the boy's fair hair. A metal rattle replaced the chin-chin gourd that once summoned life-giving rain. In modern festivities, thousands of Chiapacorceños dance, march, spin, and jump down the streets of Chiapa de Corzo, chanting, Long live Parachico Boys! Long live Chiapa de Corzo boys! Long live Saint Sebastian boys! Long live Jesus Christ boy! They dance in the streets, and pray for fortune, crops, and the privilege to dance again.

The International Guest Musicians Marimba Orquesta Balcazar, are from Chiapas, Mexico. In 1914, Musical Director Evodio Balcazar Zea, founded La Marimba Orquesta in the northern region of Jitotol, Chiapas. This first group of siblings and cousins were considered the best marimba players of their time throughout the entire state of Chiapas. Today's musicians are direct descendents of the orchestra’s founder, having passed the musical tradition from one generation to the next.



TITLE: Las Chapparreras, La Petenera, El Bejuquito, and Las Conchitas
CHOREOGRAPHERS: Roxana Borrego and Manuel Perez, based on work by Alex Placencia
DANCERS: Irma Abella, Regina Abella, Jose Borrego, Roxana Borrego, Fernando Castro, Evelia Fernandez, Angelica Hernandez, Nora Hernandez, Abelina Lopez, Luis Navarro, Jenna Pantoja, Alvaro Ramirez, Osvaldo Ramirez, Salvador Rodriguez, Lorena Ruedas, Emilio Ruiz, Antonio Sarabia, Oscar Sarabia, Tony Villareal
MUSICIANS: Grupo Tamunal - Esteban Escobedo (floreo de reata), Angelica Hernandez (vocals), Artemio Posadas (Director)

Racies de Mi Tierra performs a suite of dances based on Huasteco music typical of the state of Tamaulipas. Ranch life inspires energetic dances from this musically rich region. Today the state known as Tamaulipas Huasteco, lives by the rhythms of cowboys and horseman. A huapango is the name of a celebratory gathering of musicians who bring traditional instruments to play Huasteco-styled sones – the passionate, lyrical song forms ubiquitous to Mexico. Huapango music consists of the jarana violin, and huapanguera guitar that are proudly played to accompany the improvised chain of verses sung by the pregonero, or singer. Melodious lyrics accentuate the cuadratura, or measure, characteristic of Huasteco, while joyful dances filled with vigorous foot rhythms are precisely executed to match the beat of the jarana. Included in this enthusiastic performance is the tradition of floreo de reata (trick roping), a showmanship skill most popular in Tamaulipas, performed by the world-renowned master, Esteban Escobedo.

The men wear a popular jacket, cuera, which was a protective garment worn by men in Mexico since the 19th century. Made of cured hide, the tear resistant fabric offered protection from sharp needles and branches commonly encountered when cattle ranching, planting, and hunting. When made for the chief revolutionaries, these jackets later became embellished with fringe and embroidery displaying the state’s official flower and seal.


Roxana Borrego
DANCERS: Irma Abella, Regina Abella, José Borrego, Roxana Borrego, Fernando Castro, Moises Cordero, Evelia Fernandez, Esmeralda Gonzalez, Angelica Hernandez, Jenna Pantoja, Alvaro Ramirez, Ozvaldo Ramirez, Lorena Ruedas, Antonio Sarabia, Oscar Sarabia, Antonio Villareal
: Celia Hernandez-Lopez (vocalist), Miguel Sanchez (floreador), Mariachi TBA .

Often referred to as the heart of Mexico, Jalisco has earned a reputation for its rich art forms and vivacious lifestyle. Viva Jalisco is a slice of the life often enjoyed in the land center of Mexico. The pinata colors of the Tapatia dresses symbolize the many colors of Mexico, reliably found at the mercado artesania, in local churches, and painted on the cement walls of homes across the land. At the Plaza del Mariachi, you can enjoy the sones Jalisciences played by countless strolling Mariachis adorned in their finest sombreros and trajes de charro.

On a Sunday evening, as the sun sets behind the heavenly crosses of the cathedral, the laughter accompanies the song and many times you will see a local stand and passionately sing the songs his grandfather taught him in his youth. Viva Jalisco embodies the ranch lifestyle portrayed in El Gavilan, a dance which imitates the courtship of a sparrow hawk, and El Son De La Negra, a legendary song originally written about a countryman and his infatuation with the railways. The Floreo de Reata, or ropework, is the trademark of the Mexican horseman. The lariat whirls in transformation as it dances in mid-air, coming to life at the command of the charro.


TITLE OF PIECE: La Difficultosa, La Picona, Luz Y Sombra, La Palangana
DANCERS: Irma Abella, Regina Abella, Jose Borrego, Roxana Borrego, Fernando Castro, Moises Cordero, Esmeralda Gonzalez, Angelica Hernandez, Carlos Magallanes, Juan Orozco, Zyanya Perez, Gabe Ponce, Monique Ramirez, Lorena Ruedas, Ozvaldo Ramirez, Salvador Ruiz, Antonio Sarabia, Antonio Villareal, and Marci Ybarra

The swift kicking, earth stomping polkas performed by Raices Grupo Folklorico in the 2004 Festival were born in the 16th century parlors of Europe. Company director, Jose Borrego, explains that the polkas were brought to Mexico by German and Czechoslovakian immigrants. Polkas, along with other European and English social dances became embraced by the Mexican elite in the 1800's who performed them at their high social functions. Once the commoners got hold of these dances they took on a distinctly more Mexican style and flavor. For example, in the polka, the kicks became higher, zapateado, or "footwork," was incorporated, and they generally became much more rowdy and rambunctious.

In the late 19th century, mocking the elite, the lower class gave the polka and it's accompanying musical narration (corridos), a comical yet political twist. During the time of the Mexican revolution the polka and corrido became the way news was passed onto the commoner, many of whom were illiterate. Reference was made to the times in these songs and dances, and many were given the names of legendary female soldiers.

Sometimes referred to as "Border music and dance," the polkas are typically accompanied by a conjunto norteño, which is an ensemble consisting of snare drum, horns, clarinet and sometimes accordion, sax and bass guitar. This type of instrumentation came from German settlers in Texas and became absorbed by the Mexican locals at the border. The women's costume are representative of the dress of 19th century frontier settlers, while the men's costumes are a modern rendition of the traje norteño (northern dress). These clothes conjure up images of the Mexican cowboy and the Wild West.

Today polkas are one of many popular social dances enjoyed at parties and outdoor fairs. The one presented by Raices is a stylized version developed by Armando Correa of Chihuahua, Mexico.

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