World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Irma Hernández Abella
First appearance in SF EDF: 2016

Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro is a nonprofit dance organization founded in 1995 with the purpose of teaching and preserving Mexican folkloric dance. Nube de Oro’s goals—the development of its dancers’ education, and pride and promotion of cultural dances—have been consistent for 20 years. The group, which began with 25 dancers, is now over 60 dancers strong and still very committed to sharing with youth and the community. The Artistic Director
is Irma Hernández Abella.


GENRE: Folkoric (Chihuahua)
TITLE: Una Noche en Chihuahua
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Irma Hernández Abella
COSTUME DESIGN: Lidia Yulemy Carbajal, Roberto Rayos
DANCERS: Irma Hernández Abella, Alexis Atherley, Daniel Atherley, Adrian Becerra, Elisa Cabrera, Tatyana Córdova, Erik Noél Díaz, Elías Guerrero, Karina Gutiérrez, Maya Gutiérrez, Adelissa Hernández, Brenda Yuliana Hernández, Connie Laborin, Jován López, Alexis Oversen, Briana Partida, Osvaldo Ramírez Vidales, Gabriel Salgado, Marisela Salgado, Josué David Sánchez, Luis Héctor Sánchez, Abdiel Trejo, Daniel Trejo
MUSICIANS: Grupo Norteño El Origen: Isaac Aguirre (saxophone), Mauricio Tarín Flores (accordion, vocals), Osvaldo Alejandro Guadarrama (tecnico), Edgar Iván Gutiérrez (bajo sexto), Raúl Alberto Ramírez (drums), Javier Sáenz (tuba)

Photo by Mark Muntean


Imagine we are near a Mexican rancho in the state of Chihuahua, where a street celebration is about to begin. The conjunto norteño band—El Origen, from Chihuahua—opens up the festivities. It’s Una Noche en Chihuahua, A Night in Chihuahua, a fiesta for a quinceañera, a girl’s fifteenth birthday and her coming of age. The young quinceañera, in her white and gold dress, greets her friends and she’s crowned with a tiara—la corona—signifying she is now a woman. The young men and ladies then accompany and encircle her in the first dance, Mi Reina. Next, they will show us how three polkas are danced, Chihuahua-style.

Santa Rita, a renowned polka, is dedicated to the region’s patron saint, Santa Rita de Casia. This choreography shows an estilo alzado, an elegant straight-backed style, the posture inspired by ballroom dances of Spanish Mexico. To honor the Mexico-US border, Erik Díaz includes country-style steps from Texas and an elegant tejano cowboy-style of dress.

Parque Anáhuac is named after the park where musicians practiced. (One of Grupo Norteño El Origen's musicians helped create this fast-paced polka.) The difficult kicks and jumps allow dancers to demonstrate their skills, as each couple moves together.

Sobre los Rieles—On the Railroad Tracks—is also an old song in a new polka form. The choreography of circles and constant movement suggests a moving train.

The state of Chihuahua lies in northeast Mexico, bordering southeast Texas. When 19th-century Czech and Polish immigrants brought their culture to the region, communities took to European polkas and waltzes, accordions, brass instruments, and beer; and now they own them with a unique Mexican style. Polkas and marches (some of them becoming folk tunes called corridos, sung to relay messages in the Mexican Revolution) became favorites on the ranches in Chihuahua.

Choreography and staging were by Erik Noél Díaz. Díaz and Maestro César Alejandro Orta of Chihuahua investigated the steps and sequences to create a choreography exhibiting intricate footwork with energy and excitement. Diaz expresses his gratitude for the cultural interchange and the evolution of these dances, saying, “This piece is a tribute to three great maestros whose talent and creativity brought us a great part of Chihuahua folklore: Maestra Leonor Ávalos Zaragoza; Maestro Antonio Rubio Sagarnaga; Professor José de Jesus Dominguez y Torres; with many thanks also to Maestro César Alejandro Orta for all his research and guidance.”

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