Ballet Folklórico Aztlán, a newly formed group at NIU, is dedicated to spreading and celebrating the cultural heritage of Mexico through traditional dance. Over the past year, the 28-member student group has made a significant impact on campus and beyond, and now they have their sights set on Disneyland.

The dance team has been selected to perform at the 1st Annual Lost Angeles International Folklorico Festival in July. This prestigious event includes a full-day workshop and performances at various venues, including Plaza Mexico, Downey Theatre, and Disneyland.

For the group’s founder and director, Alyssa Calderon, this opportunity is a dream come true. As a fourth-year junior majoring in early childhood education, with a focus on special education and English language learning, Calderon is passionate about sharing the beauty of Mexican traditional dancing.

Calderon, a Lansing native and first-generation college student, has been dancing since childhood. She developed a love for Mexican traditional dance at a young age and officially joined a dance company in seventh grade. Upon arriving at NIU in 2020, she saw an opportunity to create Ballet Folklórico Aztlán.

The group’s mission goes beyond just dancing. Calderon aims to bring the Latin community, especially the Mexican community, closer together and educate others about their cultural roots. The dancers of Ballet Folklórico Aztlán are devoted to the art of Mexican folk dance, known as “Folklórico,” which represents Mexico’s diverse cultures, traditions, and history through movement and costumes.

Despite facing challenges in getting the group off the ground, interest in Ballet Folklórico Aztlán has grown tremendously. Members have worked tirelessly to raise funds for their upcoming trip to Disneyland through various events and initiatives that also aim to promote cultural heritage.

To help cover the expenses of the trip, costumes, and equipment, the group has set up a GoFundMe page. The dancers are determined to make this opportunity a reality and share their passion for Mexican folk dance with a larger audience.

As the group prepares for their performance at Disneyland, they continue to practice multiple times a week and foster a sense of unity and support among members. Calderon emphasizes the importance of a positive attitude and a willingness to learn in potential new members during auditions.

Calderon’s dedication to her dance team mirrors her commitment to making a difference in the lives of children through her studies in early childhood education. She now works at NIU’s Child Development and Family Center, where she hopes to create a welcoming and loving environment for her students.

Her passion for dance and education reflects her desire to inspire others and make a positive impact in her community. As the group gears up for their performance at Disneyland, Calderon looks forward to seeing the growth and success of Ballet Folklórico Aztlán.

Recommended Posts