World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Los Lupeños de San José

DANCE ORIGIN: Jalisco, Mexico
GenreS: Traditional Folkloric, Traditionally-inspired, Contemporary
First Appearance in SF EDF:

Los Lupeños de San José, founded in 1969, is a grupo folklórico that promotes awareness, appreciation, and understanding of Mexican culture. Under artistic director Samuel Cortez, Los Lupeños stretches the boundaries of folklórico dance, presenting a varied repertoire from both traditional and contemporary choreographers, and master teachers on both sides of the border.


Los LupenosTITLE: Plaza Guadalajara
Jaime René González López
Mario Avalos, Marco Chávez, Yvonne Domínguez, Arturo Magaña, Juan Carlos Miranda, Alejandra Pereda, Victoria Robles, Guadalupe Rodríguez, Gerardo Silva, Angela Szymusiak, Eduardo Torres, Karen Zaldivar
  Joe Domínguez (guitar), Ole Domínguez (violin), Isidro Jiménez (guitar), Tom Klassen (guitar & vihuela), Rick Moreno (violin), Dorothy Morgan Carney (violin), Jim Taylor (guitarrón), Liz Valdez (harp & vihuela), Esteban Zapiain (violin)


Picture yourself in the Plaza Guadalajara, Mexico. It is 1860, early in the morning. The musicians are returning home and the vendors want to dance. An impromptu celebration begins—a brief interlude of familiar numbers, to celebrate ranch life and love.

The suite was choreographed by Guadalajara’s Maestro René Arce in the 1990s. It blends nineteenth century social dances with sones and jarabes from the state of Jalisco. (Sones are songs with improvised lyrics. Jarabes—the word means “syrup”—are instrumental medleys of mixed European rhythms.) As Mexico struggled against a French-speaking monarchy, the citizenry disdained the upper class affectation and yet adopted some of their style. The dances mix European couple and line formations and elegant body carriage with zapateado footwork and the imitations of animals. The men wear typical horsemen’s chinaco pants, day-labor chaps, and a scarf to wipe the face. The women have added brocade to peasant dresses, and in affected elegance, they show a seductive glimpse of white slip.

The first dance is Jarabito, the “Little Jarabe” with a jota rhythm from Spain, and a European mix-up of couples. The performance continues with three sones. In El Tejón, “The Badger”, the men dance sidesteps to show their rooster-like ruffles. In La Potranca, “The Mare”, a female soloist is the filly to the men’s appreciative and competitive stallions. The courtship escalates in El Coco, “The Coconut”, a dance with sly lyrics:

La vecina de alla enfrente
Es una buena cristiana
Sale a misa por la noche
Y vuelve por la mañana.

The woman across the street
Is really a good Christian
She goes to evening mass
And doesn’t return until the morning!

The musical ensemble of European string instruments represents the mariachi band in its infancy. The familiar trumpet was inspired by 1930s era radio. The group—Conjunto Perla—was formed for this performance from Bay Area musicians. Los Lupeños studied the dance with Maestro René González López, a disciple of Maestro Arce, and debuts this choreography with a generous commission from the Cashion Cultural Legacy.


Title: Salón México
Genre: Mexican Contemporary
Dr. Susan Cashion
Ramon Alemán,Imelda Chávez, Marco Chávez, Nicholas Dareau, Larry Estrada, Kyrsti García,Martha García, MandyRose Gutiérrez, Juan Carlos Miranda, Alex Ocampo, Teresa Ocampo, Veronica Ramiréz,Laila Sahagún, Esmeralda Sánchez, Gerardo Silva, Jaimee Skyberg, Angela Szymusiak, Ambrosio Torres, Eduardo Torres, Jessica Torres, Malena Vega
Futuro Picante – Sergio Durán (Co-Director, conga, timbal), Karl Force (keyboard), Miguel Govea (Co-Director), Araceli León (trumpet), Jose León (Co-Director), Mireya León (bass), Ceclia Peña-Govea (trumpet), Ruben Sandoval (trombone)

Salón México,
1952, Mexico City, late night club . . . After the jazz craze, before rock and roll, there occurred a moment of elegance and hope: Silk stockings with seams, dancing close, but moving a bit apart . . . Shy girl, cool guy, whiskey sour, the flirt, the man with slick moves, tall dancers, short dancers, every shape and size . . .. Cuban elegance, Afro-Caribbean rhythm.

Los Lupeños de San José present three ballroom dances (bailes de salón) also classified as bailes tropicales: el danzón, la cumbia, el mambo . . . The first dance is Almendras a Danzón which originated in 1880s Cuba and quickly captivated Mexico. It's an elegant dance that terminates in an improvised montuno, allowing the dancers to turn up the heat.

La Pollera Colorá
is a cumbia, originally an Afro-Colombian flirtatious dance with an open-partner formation; also performed as a folkloric dance with drum, clave, and guitar. In the 1940s, the cumbia's musical ensemble expanded, influenced by the big band sound. The dance reinvented itself, so couples could dance close (but not too close), or a group of women could dance free-style. The lyrics are:

Cuando le canto a Soledad
Es que estoy yo contento
Porque con su movimiento
Respiración ella me da

When I sing to Soledad
It’s because I am happy
For with her movement
She gives me my strength

Mambo #5
: The mambo developed—from the Cuban son—into a dance craze in Mexico and New York in the 50s and 60s, and into an exhibition dance for cabaret. As a free-for-all that mixes partners, "mambo is the dance where the movement gives you a chance."

The dancer's costumes evoke nightclub styles in 1950's Mexico City. The war was over and conservative dress gave way to more elegant and daring outfits, influenced by Europe and the Caribbean. Traditionally, each dance would have its own orchestra and instrumentation, but today, a lively Latin band, Futuro Picante, interprets the various music styles.

Dr. Susan Cashion choreographed the piece, based on her research in Cuba, Mexico, and Colombia, and the suite was restructured for the Festival. Los Lupeños performed a variation in 2008 at San José's Mexican Heritage Plaza. 

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