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Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda:

Four years and still dancing


by Yvonne Sweeney


  Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda children’s Mexican folk dance group of Woodlake, celebrated its fourth anniversary in March. This is no small feat as we have had struggles over the years with securing an adequate location for rehearsals. But this year, with the help of Woodlake YMCA, we have a perfect location.

  We are currently 26 members strong and range in age from four to 13 years old. We are proud to say this may be our busiest season ever.
   With Cinco de Mayo still weeks away we have a staggering 16 performances scheduled and the calls are still coming in.
Our repertoire consists of dances from the regions of Jalisco, Vera Cruz, Baja California Norte, and our newest region is Norte with its traditional polkas. In January, we performed our first hour-long show.    That is a lot of dancing for kids in middle school and younger.
Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda prides itself on being a community-service effort. These economic times are especially difficult in our area.
   We have never raised tuition since this group’s inception and no one involved in the direction or management of our group is paid for their services. Out-of-pocket costs are kept to a minimum; we require only the purchase of dance shoes, but if that proves to be difficult, I do my best to connect our parents with alternatives such as keeping and eye on eBay and my connections with former dancers who may have shoes for sale.
   This is an issue that I will never compromise on because I don’t ever want a child to miss out on this experience due to expense.
My history with ballet folklorico goes back to the early 1980s. I am proud to say that I danced with some of the best in the industry and had the opportunity to learn from the best.
   My instructor Emilio Rivas performed at the 1972 Olympic opening ceremonies in Munich. You can see it on YouTube: Olympische Spiele München 1972: Eröffnungsfeier (Teil 13 von 16).
   As for myself; performing for Pope John Paul II in 1987 is my most memorable folklorico experience. Someday I hope to find it on Youtube too!
   I love this art like no other hobby and nothing makes me happier than to share it with anyone interested.
   I would like to say a special THANK YOU to the following people, for without them Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda would not be the success it is today.
   Venicia Cardenas, BFSL’s booking coordinator— She convinced me that I could teach this class and has given her all to make it a success.
   Lisa Perez— One of the most graceful and talented dancers and maestras I know.
   John Gonzales— Super maestro who lives and breathes folklorico and has been gracious to include BFSL in his children’s concerts.
Woodlake YMCA and Mike Flores Jr.— Thanks to them our dancers have a safe and spacious place to rehearse.
   And finally to the parents of BFSL for being such a huge support to your kids and our group
   Yvonne Arroyo Sweeney is the director and dance instructor at Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda. For more information, call Yvonne at 901-6240.


Woodlake Western Week
Saturday and


May 1-2

4 pm
Kick-off Event
Miller Brown Park


Woodlake Rodeo Parade


May 8

10 am

THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
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