El Corazón de México reveals more anniversary surprises
By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent
August 3, 2016: More road trips are on the near horizon for El Corazón de México Ballet Folklorico, which is celebrating its own 20th anniversary in 2016. But the next couple of festivals won’t mean long trips like the one to California earlier this year. This time, the dance troupe will stay closer to home in Ohio, making return appearances at festivals where the dancers have performed before.
But both festivals will mean multiple performances with overnight stays in Columbus and suburban Cincinnati, which are always popular with the younger members of the dance troupe.
According to Elaina Hernández, founder and director of the dance troupe, the remainder of the summer and fall will be busy with other, yet-to-be-revealed performances.
“It gets them out of Toledo, gets them other places they wouldn’t normally get to explore,” she said of the out-of-town performances. “So it’s really a nice experience for them.”
But El Corazón de México Ballet Folklorico dancers gave a performance to a hometown crowd on the plaza outside Fifth Third Field on Sunday, July 31, 2016 as part of the pregame festivities for Latino Heritage Night.
“It’s great. It’s so much fun and all the kids love dancing and to come to the ballpark,” she said. “Anytime we can perform in Toledo in front of friends and family, we really appreciate it. We get exposed to all of Toledo instead of just our own community, which is great, too.”
The dance troupe’s next performance will be at Festival Latino in Columbus, which is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. That festival is billed as the largest of its kind in the Midwest, spanning both sides of the river downtown.
“We’ve been there for most of their celebrations. We haven’t been there every year, but we’ve been close,” said Ms. Hernández, who stated 20 dancers will make the trip. “We’ll dance three times while we’re down there. Last year, we were the only folkloric group to perform, so it was pretty special that we were the only ones there.”
Five older dance couples will then travel to Oxford, Ohio, for the Unite Diversity Festival, where they will perform at Cincinnati-area schools leading up to the festival on the Miami University campus on Sept. 22-24.
“They actually celebrate homecoming that weekend, so there will be a lot of people down there,” said Ms. Hernández. “We’ve been down there a couple times before and they wanted to help us celebrate our 20th anniversary, so that’s why they invited us to come back.”
El Corazón de México will perform again locally at the end of August at the Barrio Latino Arts Festival.
The Ohio Arts Council also recently awarded Ms. Hernández the Ohio Heritage Fellowship, a $5,000 individual grant given to people involved in folk-related arts across the state.
“It’s really exciting. We’re not sure when they’re going to have the ceremony, but it will be here in Toledo once they find a venue,” she said. “It will go for different types of things that normally when I do the dancing, I don’t get paid for any of that, so it will go for expenses I have.”
A dozen dancers from El Corazón de México Ballet Folklorico traveled to a showcase event earlier this year at California State University in Northridge (CSUN). “Bajo Las Estrella” is a 13th anniversary celebration of a Mexican dance troupe founded by its director and choreographer Karina Estrella. The head of that dance troupe came to Toledo last October to teach new dances to El Corazón. Six couples then made the trip to perform Sonora Bronco, which involved a lot of fundraising, as will the Ohio trips to cover hotels, meals, and travel.
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