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Folkloric dancers displayed culture in Christmas show

Los Danzantes de Aztlán and the university’s Chicano and Latin American studies department held their 28th annual Christmas in Mexico Show Saturday.

“It’s a rich tradition, a tradition that many other groups at the high school level have emulated,” said Victor Torres, director of Los Danzantes de Aztlán, Fresno State’s folkloric dance company. “This show has sort of become the root that spreads many branches.”

The show, which was held at the Satellite Student Union, featured Los Danzantes de Aztlán, Chicano and Latin American Studies 106 students, Fresno City College dance groups and Alma de Clovis High.

Fresno State President Joseph Castro and Acting Dean of College of Social Sciences Michelle DenBeste were present at this traditional event.

“Los Danzantes are part of our priority focus on student success and I know that they’re striving to achieve their dreams – they do so well academically and they also share their gifts with all of us and we get to benefit from all of that,” Castro said.

DenBeste said such events are important because they bring together things that the university does with the community.

“It brings together faculty, staff, students [and] younger students who may come to Fresno State one day as result of these kinds of events,” DenBeste said.

Nina Espinoza, a graphic design major, had to participate in the event as a requirement for her class at Fresno State. 

“Before, in high school, I danced for three years and then I came to Fresno State and then I thought that even when I did join the class, it’s really good to show the diversity and culture to the school,” said Espinoza.

Organizing for this event took around five months, said Lupita Ramirez, assistant director and dance member of Los Danzantes.

Ramirez has been dancing for Los Danzantes for nine years.

“I graduated in 2012 with my bachelor’s degree in public health. I kept coming because I transitioned from a dancer to assistant director,” Ramirez said. “It’s been a tradition in our family. I grew up seeing dance, it was something that we just do, so I danced when I was little in elementary school all the way through high school and then my goal was to come here because my oldest sister was a danzante so that was my goal.”

Ramirez added that through dance they get to show community members a bit more about the Mexican culture.

“It’s kind of like a little teaser, a little taste and it’s a way of us bringing México to the U.S.” she said.