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Dossier: Ballet Folklórico and other Colorful Expressions of Culture

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Sleuthing Brighton Colorado, with a full Investigative Report by the Brighton History Detective® (aka Robin Kring)

Case Number: 00020, Identify Mural Subject

Mural Location: “Historic Brighton at Founders Plaza” by Hans Joseph Geist

Subject Identified: Ballet Folklórico, Celebration of Mexican Culture through Dance

CELEBRATION OF MEXICAN CULTURE THROUGH DANCE OF BALLET FOLKLÓRICO (1970s-Current). Local high-school students perform the colorful and festive dances, traditional to Mexico. Other groups, such as the 1971 Ballet de la Tierra, performed benefit dances at local nursing homes, schools, churches, and community affairs. The classes studied Spanish culture through the dances, the music and the different regional cultures. Costumes were made to correspond to each of the originating regions of Mexico.

Similar celebrations of the vibrant colors and flavors of Mexican culture, through traditional Mexican dance performances, have also been a favorite in the Brighton’s Cultural Festivals and the Adams County Parade. Recently, the Adams County Government Center hosted the Fiesta Colorado Dance Company and a special historical photo collection showcasing legacy and artistry of choreographer Amalia Hernández (1917-2000). Amalia Hernández was best known for having developed the Ballet Folklórico de Mexico, which is used to bring Mexican dancing and music to the world. A representative of the Colorado Conservatory of Dance Alumni Association described dancing as a way to share various cultures best, when she shared a quote from Cleo Parker Robinson, “We have traveled around the world with our dance, but the best journey has been around the block.”

Brighton’s Expressions of Other World Dance Cultures

Through the years, Brighton has expressed a variety of world cultures of dance and music, including performances of the Northern Colorado Dutch Hoppers, who along with other Dutch Hop groups, perform a type of dance and style of music that was brought to the United States by the Volga Germans. Today’s Dutch Hop bands typically include four musicians who play an accordion, a bass electric piano or guitar, a trombone, and the characteristic hammered dulcimer. Dutch Hop dancers respond to the band's beat by adding a bounce to their step, and frequently an extra little hop or a stomp, to the smoother traditional polka dance.

In the 1980s, the M&M Cloggers, a nationally-competing Clog Dance Club, performed locally, sharing folk dance performances, with its roots coming from the combined folk dances of the Irish, English, Scottish, and Dutch-Germans who settled in the Appalachian Mountains, as early as the mid-1700s. Russian gypsies and African American who passed through the area, as well as the Cherokee Indians, are also credited with influencing the clogging dance.

Earlier in Brighton’s 1930s through the end of WWII, the Euterpean Society promoted music in the community, including sponsoring a City Music week.

The Brighton Nisei Women’s Club, organized in 1948, has donated much time and talent to share Japanese culture with the Brighton community. As one of their many activities through the years, the group would share Japanese dance, music, and movies with local nursing home residents.

©2023 Robin Kring

Discover More About the Artist and the Detective

Learn more about the Artist, Hans Joseph Geist, behind the Historic Brighton at Founders Plaza mural, in the Brighton History Detective® dossier, The Case of the New Mural and its Artist (Hans Joseph Geist). See more of Hans art at: Art by Hans Geist on Facebook.

Find more Investigative Case Reports, by Brighton History Detective®, each revealing the identity of one of the 20 intriguing Brighton characters and places, painted on the mural. Investigate the sleuthing and writing stories of yesteryear, mystery, and intrigue on the Clear Creek Publishing Authors Blog site, including: New Fiction, Victoriana, Event Planning Extraordinaire, Colorado History, and Cemetery Chats.

The Historic Brighton at Founders Plaza mural is located on the southwest corner of Main St. and Bridge St., in Brighton, Colorado. The mural is a project of the Brighton Cultural Arts Commission, whose mission is to increase arts and culture awareness and promote cultural and scientific opportunities in our community. It has been made possible with funding from the SCFD and Brighton Lodging Tax Grants.

®Brighton History Detective is a registered trademark of Clear Creek Publishing.

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