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The Satellite Student Union was filled with students, community members and bright colors as dancers from around the globe preformed traditional folklorico dances.

Fresno State celebrates culture through dance

The Satellite Student Union was filled with students, community members and bright colors as dancers from around the globe preformed traditional folklorico dances.

The department of Chicano and Latin American studies produced the folklorico concert to honor the late Fresno State professor Ernesto Martinez.

Dr. Victor Torres, department chair for the Chicano and Latin American studies, said the event was a continuation of Martinez’s vision to provide Mexican folklorico dances the opportunity to meet, study, share and perform in a united celebration.

“The event was designed to be a vehicle to build the community and bring them together,” Torres said. “People that do folklorico do it because it builds a sense of pride in the community and their culture.”

Elizabeth Gonzalez, a Chicano and Latin American studies major and performer in the concert, said the concert showed the community what students at Fresno State in the Chicano and Latin American studies program do.

“We are such a diverse community of students and with this we are able to share our culture and experience others,” Gonzalez said. “It shows that we are here and we are proud.”

Torres said the event was to honor Martinez, a pioneer that forged the path that allowed for the exposure of folklorico dance, and who built the Chicano and Latin American studies program to what it is today.

“This event promoted the department as one of the leading programs in the state,” Torres said. “Fresno State is one of the only programs where folklorico dance is part of the curriculum and that wouldn’t be possible without [Martinez].”

Gonzalez said the event exposed the department to the community of Fresno. “There are people from Mexico, San Jose and it shows how strong of a department we are,” Gonzalez said.

Torres said Martinez founded the program and strived to make folklorico not only part of Fresno State curriculum but among high schools in the Central Valley.

Criminology student Martin Hernandez said he attended the event to show his pride in his culture.

“We have to remember where we came from, and it’s important to bring it to the school to show people our pride in our culture and keep it alive,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said because there is such a diverse community, cultures may be lost and forgotten.

“A lot of people may think ‘Oh, that’s old school’ and may not want to be part of it,” Hernandez said. “The more people that know about it, the more people there are that can get involved and help keep it alive.”

Hernandez said he hopes the event exposed the department not only to other current students, but perhaps younger children in the audience.

“Hopefully they see this event, become interested and get inspired and hopefully come to this campus and become part of this program in the future.”