By Joel Settles
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center celebrates the Fourth of July with a very special edition of Celebrando Tradiciones, it’s monthly dance and music series running every First Friday.
“Historias y Recuerdos” honors the lives and voices of the Mexican-Americans who built the Westside of San Antonio in the years before and following World War II. Often called the ‘Greatest Generation’, it was these men and women, our parents and grandparents, who were the backbone of San Antonio’s Mexican-American working class and its early civic leaders. They built communities, opened business, powered the local economy, developed our local arts and cultural spaces like the Historic Guadalupe Theater which opened in 1943, and started organizations like the American GI Forum that initiated the Mexican-American Civil Rights movement. On July 5th the Guadalupe Dance Company will bring these powerful stories and oral histories to life in a unique dance and music experience.
Historias y Recuerdos: A Mexican-American Story pays homage to the Mexican American voice of San Antonio’s Westside recounting the stories that make up the fabric of our history and experience. Expressed through a Folkloric dance perspective, the choreography honors the memories of generations past bringing them to life on stage through a unique interweaving of oral histories and traditional dance and media interspersed with video segments of stories as told by people within the Guadalupe community.
Community members have unselfishly shared deep rooted stories about their lives growing up in the Guadalupe barrio. These stories have included going to the Guadalupe Theater on Saturdays to watch movies and variedades, working at the local pecan factory, going off to war, and many others. Pieces like Fronteras, a piece that takes the audience on a border crossing voyage, and Noticias de Mama, a suite recounting one soldier’s supernatural experience while serving overseas, continue to hit close to home with their ever-current subject matter while other suites like La Variedad pays homage to the rich history of the Guadalupe Theater and Westside community. The original choreography and staging was created by a team of dancer-choreographers led by Jeannette Chavez, Denise Rios, Jorge Gaxiola and Luis Garcia.
“Unique in their expression, the dancers translate stories collected from local community members into beautifully choreographed dance theater segments. Informed by video interviews, the dancer-choreographers designed the staging and dance segments based in the Folkloric tradition,” said Jeannette Chavez, said Dance Company Director.
“In an effort to discover their own identity and gain more opportunities, many Mexican families moved away from their beloved barrio,” says Belinda Menchaca, education director for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. “Along with them went the countless stories of generations past that live only in the minds of many community members’ parents and grandparents. Years of service in the military, Grandma’s delicious menudo, playing games on the corner and listening to the radio, were all part of life many years ago.”
Today is a very different world, but those same moments of sharing and family values are still at the core of many families’ roots and rich heritage. Family, youth, love and sacrifice are the themes of the inspiring original choreography by the Guadalupe Dance Company honoring the memories of generations past and bringing them to life on stage.
WHEN: First Friday, June 7, 2019
TIME: 8:00PM ( Doors Open at 6:30PM )
ADMISSION: Tickets range from $10 – $25 | Reserved Tables of Four are $125
WHERE: Guadalupe Theater | 1301 Guadalupe St. SA,TX 78207
For more information visit www.guadalupeculturalarts.org or call 210-271-3151