With the founding of Ballet Folklorico de Stanford began the first enduring student organization to honor Hispanic culture. Ballet Folklorico provides proper training in traditional South American dance forms and its dancers perform both on campus and abroad.
Ballet Folklorico dancer and Stanford alumnus (class of 2012) Merlin Greuel, known for having “German roots and a Mexican heart,” considers his experience with the company as some of the most formative moments of his undergraduate education and socialization. As Merlin reminisces, “I fell in love with el Ballet Folklórico de Stanford from the very first practice I attended my freshman year. What struck me was the warm, friendly atmosphere during the practices: there was no competition between the group members and I immediately felt like an integrate part of the group. What sets el Ballet Folklórico de Stanford apart from other cultural dance groups on campus is that it has managed to maintain a casual practice atmosphere while providing a professional annual performance, el Concierto de la Primavera. This way, the dance practices provide the group members with an opportunity to relax and socialize instead of being an additional burden on them. The members of el Ballet Folklórico de Stanford come from diverse cultural backgrounds and share their culture with the rest of the group. It is, in fact, amazing how Stanford students from various cultural backgrounds come together and share their love for Mexican folklóric dance; this is a textbook example of globalization and cross-cultural understanding.”
In addition to the annual spring concert, Ballet Folklorico presents El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festival every year and engages in national and international tours. As an occasional treat, Mariachi Cardenal de Stanford (established in 1994), performs in a joint concert with the dancers. Further extending Stanford’s Latin dance repertoire, Los Salseros de Stanford, a salsa dance group, Stanford Capoeira, and Stanford Tango Club offer regular classes and workshops for students.
Featured image: dancer from Ballet Folklorico de Stanford performing a Nayarit regional dance