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HBPA to present a treasure of Mexican traditional music and dance

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – What the Kansas City Star called “a heady rush of tapping heels, dazzling costumes and insistent rhythms” comes to Bethel College’s Memorial Hall stage Feb. 23.

The fourth event in the Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts series for 2012-13 brings the Ballet Folklorico “Quetzalli” de Veracruz to south central Kansas to share indigenous and other traditional Mexican music and dance.

The show will take place Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, including how to order tickets, visit HBPA’s brand-new website, hesstonbethel.org.

Veteran dancer Hugo Betancourt founded Quetzalli in 1985 and still directs it. Since then, it has delighted audiences from Europe to Indonesia, bringing the world a visual fiesta of culture and folklore featuring regional dances of old Mexico.

Music is performed live on authentic stringed instruments by the award-winning folk ensemble Tlen-Huicani. It punctuates the meticulous movement, colorful clothing and perfect pulse established by the dancers and helps make Quetzalli one of Mexico’s most popular exports.

Quetzalli’s home base is in Xalapa, the Veracruz state capital. They perform traditional folkloric dances, as well as their Afro-Caribbean spectacular, “Carnaval Veracruzano.”

The company has been the official representatives of the Secretary of Tourism and Economic Development for the State of Veracruz since 1986, having given hundreds of performances across Mexico and the United States, South America, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean.

They have performed at the Carnaval de Veracruz every year since 1991, as well as taking their famous comparsa xalapeña to the Carnaval de Havana on three different occasions.

Other important appearances include the Miss Mexico pageant in Cancun, TV appearances on“Siempre en Domingo” from Mexico City, the Festival Cervantino in Guanaguato, and at the Festival of Culture in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Quetzalli’s dance company is composed of young people who love the traditions of their people as expressed through the music, songs and dances characteristic of different ethnic groups. They create their interpretations through technical formation, bibliographical study and ritual observation.

The group has around 45 dancers and 10 musicians and, in addition to maintaining its performance schedule, operates a school and training program for young dancers in Xalapa. Quetzalli continues to be one of the great cultural treasures of Veracruz.

 “Things were clicking at the Performing Arts Center when the vibrant Ballet Folklorico de Veracruz stormed the stage in a heady rush of tapping heels, dazzling costumes and insistent rhythms,” wrote a reviewer for the Kansas City Star. “A near-capacity audience cheered and clapped its welcome. . .every heritage should be so lovingly and beautifully preserved.”

Single tickets for Ballet Folklorico “Quetzalli” de Veracruz at Bethel College are $27 or $23, with discounts available for students and senior citizens.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 620-327-8158 (Hesston College) or 316-284-5205 (Bethel College) or visit the HBPA website at hesstonbethel.org.

HBPA is funded in part by  the cities of Hesston and North Newton,  Excel Industries and Hustler Turf Equipment (Hesston), and area patrons. 

The Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts series started in 1982 as Hesston Performing Arts (HPA) with funding and planning provided by Hesston College and the Hesston community. In 1998, HPA planners launched a partnership with Bethel College, and the series name changed to Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts. Hesston College in Hesston and Bethel College in North Newton host performances each year.

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