The excitement is in the air as we kick off our 2016 season. Images of colorful trajes, friends laughing, mariachis singing with gritos that fill the air mark the beginning of ALAS' season of performing arts. This past week, Tonantzin began our first week of ballet folklorico classes. It was the first time we took the summer off to take a break, organize and rest after a long year of hard work and dedication by our youth and families.
As the summer started to wind down, youth started to ask when classes were resuming. As we all gathered for the first day back, I witnessed hugs shared, smiles beaming, parents laughing and summer stories being exchanged. I saw new skirts, polished dancing shoes and dance bags ready to take on the new season. Maestro Zenon Barron welcomed each student, back and motivated them for the year ahead with a new repertoire of music and choreography.
Inspiration filled the Ted Acock center as forty students came with the commitment ready to give their all to preserve culture, traditions and the dances of beautiful Mexico.
Our youth of Tonantzin practice twice a week, learning rigorous dances, memorizing hard rhythmic zapateados and choreography that solidifies their ability to memorize, learn and lead in both academics and cultural arts.
As I watched all the energy swarm the room, I witnessed one of the most special gifts of ALAS, that of community. I witnessed a room filled with community created by friendship, perseverance, trust, struggle and hard work. The commitment that our families and students give behind the scenes to bring the beautiful dances to life on the stage is exemplary. They give all year long of their time, energy and dedication to dance and inspire the community.. It's pure corazon (heart( that our students and families bring to Tonantzin..
Just as much as we needed the break, we all realized that we need each other.
AlAS is community, Tonantzin, is family. When we dance for the community, we all are connected as one for that moment, for that dance. Welcome back Tonantzin!
Belinda is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in California and Founder of A.L.A.S. She also is Faculty at the University of San Francisco, where she teaches in the Counseling Department. She has a doctorate in International and Multicultural Education. Her research is focused on the psychological trauma experienced by many in the immigration system as well as understanding healing spaces in the Latino community.