Questions for Ballet Folklorico Nacional
The Milwaukee company specializes in the regional, traditional dances of Mexico.
Javier Escamilla, owner and director of Escamilla Entertainment and dance studio, is part of the Ballet Folklorico Nacional group. They’ve previously performed at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, but August 11th will be their first time performing at the Peck Pavilion. The group describes themselves on their webpage as “an innovative, theatrical body of dancers committed to the preservation of one of the richest artistic manifestations of tradition and culture in Mexico – ‘El Folklore.’ The group was founded by enthusiastic dancers with different degrees of experience in Mexican folk dance and traditional Aztec dance; their mission is to promote Mexican Folklore dance with quality and authenticity.”
Escamilla answered a few questions about the dance group and how they function.
Q: Where did the idea for this dance group come from?
A: It mainly due to the fact that my wife really enjoys Mexican folklore and there wasn’t a local group so we decided to create our own. We started small with just a few dancers and now we have a youth group from ages 6 to 12 and an adult group from 12 and up.
Q: What kind of gigs do you generally do?
A: Both of our dance companies perform at various venues and events like Wisconsin Folk Fair, Indian Summer, Wisconsin State Fair, various local festivals, Oshkosh Sawdust Days, Mexican Fiesta and also private or corporate events.
Q: How do you decide what music to dance to?
A: Music is based on the Mexican region we are performing. In Mexico each state has a traditional folkloric dance style and style of music. As for the Aztec Dances we play our own drums live.
Q: Is there one person in particular who leads and choreographs?
A: Through the years and the growth of the company we have brought from Mexico various professional instructor of Mexican folklore and they have instituted the choreographies which have been kept intact or modified. My wife oversees the majority of the kid’s skits.
Q: What’s the best part of dancing together in front of an audience?
A: The performers love the rush of adrenaline they get every time they are on stage and hear and feel the music and the drums.
Q: How often do you practice?
A: We practice 3 to 4 times a week 2 to 3 hours each time.
Q: How do people find out about your shows?