Mexico semester offers Folklorico class

Vanessa Copeland, senior international studies major (left) and Leslie Parker, Spanish Instructor, take part in the Folklorico dance classs. they are wearing practice skirts, which weigh much less than the traditional Folklorico skirts.

Vanessa Copeland, senior international studies major (left) and Leslie Parker, Spanish Instructor, take part in the Folklorico dance classs. they are wearing practice skirts, which weigh much less than the traditional Folklorico skirts.

Jessica MacIntosh

Despite no air conditioning in Young Gymnasium, students and faculty continue to learn the art of Mexican folk dancing, or Folklorico.

“Each state had several folk dances that typify the people and the culture of that state,” said Judy Schneider, instructor.

She said in every culture, “everybody dances.”

Schneider said there are more than 600 Folklorico dances in Mexico.

As part of the class, the students and faculty will be learning not only Folklorico dances, but will be learning the salsa.

“It’s popular right now,” she said.

The class is in conjunction with the Mexico semester.

“I asked to do it,” Schneider said. “Why don’t we do something that goes along with each international study semester?”

Schneider said Dr. Pat Lipira, head of kinesiology, was “very kind” for letting her come teach the class.

Although there are 32 students, 10 faculty members have also taken part in the dance class.

“They got enthused about it when they went to Mexico City and saw the real ballet Folklorico,” Schneider said.

During the Sept. 1 class, the women wore practice fabric skirts. Schneider said traditional Folklorico skirts weigh more than 100 pounds and have more than 200 yards of ribbon.

“They weigh a lot,” she said. “When you get all the ribbon, they have such a momentum going for them. If you don’t get them synched on pretty tight, they’ll just keep going, and you’ll stop dancing.”

She said the skirts are “beautiful” and are passed down from generation to generation.

Schneider said during the first lesson the class had, someone wanted to dance one more time.

“That to me is a real success,” she said. “From my standpoint, it’s a huge success that we got that many people to walk through the door, wanting to dance and having such a good time.”

She said it’s “wonderful that Missouri Southern is adding a little dance to the programs.”

“I think it augments the kinesiology department,” Schneider said. “It enhances the international studies, it is a wonderful social interaction for the students and it’s something that if you don’t offer, you don’t miss it, but when you do offer it, you are like, ‘Oh, wow. Aren’t we glad we have it?'”

Brandon Bellegarde, junior finance major, said he took the class because he needed a physical activity, and his wife is taking it.

“I think it is a lot of fun, but very different,” he said.

Crystal Rhoads, sophomore marketing major, said she wanted to learn about Folklorico.

“It’s interesting because the dances are different than I expected and more traditional,” she said.

“It’s just something you couldn’t learn anywhere else,” said Leslie Parker, Spanish instructor. “It’s so much fun.”

Because of the Mexico semester, she said she “should support” the dance class.

Dr. Juan Vasquez, head of mathematics, said he loves the class.

“I like to learn something new,” he said.

The dance class is offered from 6:30 to 8:10 p.m. Thursdays and fulfills physical activity course, Kinesiology 101, in the core curriculum.