Denver’s own ArtistiCO Dance Company is kicking off Latinx heritage month with Amalia, a tribute to the founder of the world-renowned Ballet Folklórico de Mexico. ArtistiCO will be the first local Latinx organization to produce its own dance production at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, with the performance taking place on September 11 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.
Amalia Hernández founded Ballet Folklórico de Mexico nearly 70 years ago in Mexico City. “She was a pioneer in dance in the early 90’s,” said ArtistiCO co-founder José Rosales. Her impressive background included studying alongside dance icons such as Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey. Rosales continued, “Mexican folklore dance would not be what it is today if it wasn’t for Amalia Hernández.”
ArtistiCO co-founders Rosales and Alfonso Meraza both studied at Ballet Folklórico de Mexico and performed as principal soloists. In founding ArtistiCO, their goal was to bring their experience and the Amalia style of dance to Colorado. The Amalia technique is a combination of classical ballet, contemporary, and Mexican folklore dance. “For those who do not know what Mexican Folklore is, this is a show to see,” explained Rosales. “You will recognize movements from popular ballets and also traditional music from Mexico.”
ArtistiCO’s mission is to uplift Latinx culture through artistry and dance. Amalia will be accompanied by Mariachi Sol De Mi Terra, the Denver-based mariachi group. In addition, over 100 costumes from many different regions of Mexico can be seen throughout the show. “[Amalia] will be a showcase of the rich, authentic Mexican culture,” Rosales said.
“ArtistiCO is committed to bringing the art of dance to educational institutions, unlimited stages and to the hearts of our community. Within two years, ArtistiCO has evolved from its virtual platform to establishing two dance academy locations and a professional dance company, and we are in the process of purchasing our very own studio,” said Rosales.
Proceeds from Amalia will contribute to ArtistiCo’s establishment of permanent studio space. Rosales and Meraza believe it is vital for ArtistiCO to put down permanent roots in Denver so that they can continue to serve the BIPOC community as well as share their art and culture.
Supporting these local artists is a fantastic way to celebrate Latinx heritage month, which lasts from September 15 to October 15. Whether you know and love Mexican folklore dance or want to experience something new, Amalia will appeal to all audiences. “One thing that I always say is you don’t choose dance…dance chooses you,” Rosales said, and it shows in ArtistiCO’s passionate performances.
September 11, 2022 at 7pm · Ellie Caulkins Opera House