The Ringling celebrates Mexican culture with a music and dance troupe


“¡Vívelo! “ will be performed at 11 a.m. Thursday and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at The Ringling’s historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. 941-360-7399; The troupe will host a footwork workshop for dance students at Booker High School and participate in a conversation about Son Jarocho at the Ringling at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Son Luna y Jóvenes Zapateadores music and dance ensemble was born to the sounds and rhythm of Veracruz, Mexico, the birthplace of the traditional Son Jarocho musical style.

As part of Ringling’s Art of Performance series, the company will make its Florida debut with its show “¡Vívelo! »At the historic Theater of Asolo.

A focus on Mexican culture has been chosen for the month of December, said Elizabeth Doud, Curator of Performing Arts at Ringling. The program “specifically takes the time to look at Mexico as a place of great contemporary performance”.

“¡Vívelo! Highlights Son Jarocho, which is a musical mix of Spanish, African and indigenous styles. It is created using instruments such as two types of guitars, the jarana and the requinto, as well as a cajón and a quijada used for percussion. The dances of “¡Vívelo! »Combine influences from Spanish, folk and contemporary styles with African movements as in traditional Son Jarocho fashion. The dancers’ movements contribute to the music and rhythm through their tap style.

“This year is a good opportunity to maybe change the narrative around our international cultural exchange with Mexico,” said Doud. “And point out commonalities, curiosity, exchange and elevate the things that work well when we come together to share our common culture.” “

Son Luna y Jóvenes Zapateadores is the creation of choreographer, artistic and musical director Ernesto Luna Ramírez. The group’s musical section, Son Luna, formed 29 years ago, and more than a decade later, began performing with Ramírez’s second creation, Jóvenes Zapateadores, the dance company. The ensemble tours with 25 members in Mexico – a 13-year-old is the youngest performer – but they are traveling with 12 artists for the US tour this year.

The group has been recognized by numerous awards and associations such as the National System of Art Creators in Mexico.

Ramirez has worked professionally as a performer for the past 35 years and as an academic director of the Instituto Educacional de la Danza Nandehui, a dance school in Xalapa, Mexico. Growing up in Veracruz, Ramírez was surrounded by the music and dance of Son Jarocho. His mother was a dancer and his father a musician, which led him to start playing music at an early age.

“¡Vívelo! “Means” to live it “and the show is a walk through tradition and experience, which takes you from Spanish flamenco to Son Jarocho, Ramírez said in a telephone interview translated by the group’s American tour director, Peter Hay .

Ramírez said he told the audience to “live this moment with me”.

Veracruz is home to a port on the Gulf of Mexico that has helped create, spread and develop Son Jaracho over centuries of trade. “When we see the Sevillians dancing from Spain, we see a Fandango Jarocho (a Jarocho party dance), it’s exactly the same thing but translated as Mexico,” Ramírez said.

Eight dancers and four musicians will perform with Ramírez as he joins the show by dancing and playing multiple instruments. He said he loves the times when you see the mix of cultures from different parts of Mexico coming together. Ramírez is also delighted to share new places with the young performers and to see the interactions with the audience.

This American tour will take the company through Florida, California and Washington, with the support of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Southern Exposure; Latin American Performing Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.

“It’s an extraordinary folk experience. It’s very intensive group dance work and they have wonderful costumes, ”said Doud. Ramirez “incorporates contemporary dance, the language of movement and twists on music to make it relevant to young artists. It is a meeting of traditions and contemporary relevance.

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