Since I was three years old, I have been dancing folklorico. I have been with the same dance academy since I started, but when I got to college I had to retire from that group and find a college-aged group. In the Spring 2018 semester at the U of A, I joined a folklorico here on campus named Groupo Folklorico Miztontli! We practice three days a week and often do performances on the weekends. The most memorable performance by far was in Veracruz, Mexico. We had been invited to a folklorico festival hosted in Huayacocotla in the middle of May. Huayacocotla is a very small town where dancing folklorico is a big deal. The group over there wanted to start a new tradition in their town and host their first-ever festival! By inviting us, we were able to represent the entire southern region of Mexico, and we were able to make their festival International! We were all so excited, but we only had three months to get the money to get us to Mexico. It was a very stressful time trying to raise the money, learn a bunch of new dances, and still do performances on the weekends. Fortunately, we were able to sell tickets to our spring showcase and use that money to get us to Veracruz! We were all very excited because no one had been there, and we were all anxious for a new adventure.
The day we got to travel was super nerve-wrecking. We took a Tufesa from Tucson to Hermosillo, MX, and then flew out of Hermosillo to Mexico City where our hosts picked us up, then drove about 6 hours to Huayacocotla. It was by far the longest day of my life, but the day didn’t stop when we got to Huayacocotla. From the moment we arrived, everyone was beyond nice. The host group had a private dinner party for us at the Professor’s house and fed us amazing food. We all felt so grateful they had done that for us.
The entire trip itself felt so surreal. Being able to represent Sonora, Mexico in Veracruz was amazing! I got to do what I love with hundreds of other dancers who share the same passion. There were groups from Chiapas, Coahuila, Mexico City, Oaxaca, and so many other regions. It was so great to see dancers dance from the regions I’ve done dances to. Being there made me more aware of the cultural differences between the parts of Mexico and really helped me get to know my heritage a lot better. We were able to have a “tourist” day and go to Teotihuacan and visit the pyramids there. Because of this trip, I was able to visit one of the top places on my bucket list! I am forever thankful I was even given this opportunity to able to travel to Mexico and do what I love.