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Mexican folklore dance group performs to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Elizabeth Schuth

Editor in Chief

October 10, 2023

Swish and Spin - Olivia Foor-Lecea (red dress), Brenda Navarro (pink dress), Crystal Cruz Gerardo (yellow dress) dance along with Matias Vazquez (with Cruz Gerado), Jose Cavillo (with Navarro), and Marco Marquez (with Foor-Lecea and solo) to the enjoyment of the audience.

Fuego Nuevo, a Mexico-based folklore dance group came to Westfield for a CORE showcase including dancers from Westfield and Kokomo High School.

The group of six that performed has been dancing together for about two years practicing in Cool Creek Park on weekends and includes a total of 8 girls and 7 boys. Their members include Olivia Foor-Lecea, Marco Marquez, Brenda Navarro, and Crystal Cruz Gerardo from Westfield as well as Jose Calvillo and Matias Vazquez from Kokomo High School. They performed a variety of Jalisco-style dances with traditional costumes handmade and shipped from Mexico.

“[My Friend] messaged me if I wanted to sit in on a practice … so I thought I was just going to watch,” sophomore dancer Foor-Lecea said. “Next thing I know, at the end of the practice they gave me a group hug which meant I was already in the group.”

This group started three years ago when Cavillo, now the coach of the group, wanted to carry on his hobby of folk dancing. Fuego Nuevo is set up as an organization to celebrate and grow a passion for dancing and the costumes and everything are provided free for the dancers.

“It is a lot of commitment but the pride and a love of my culture and passion is what got me through this,” Senior dancer Navarro said. “I love dancing but I love dancing for my culture even more.”

The group has performed at dozens of cultural fairs across the Indianapolis area as well as libraries and other events. This past month they performed at the Toby Theatre at Newfields. Some of their future events include a festival in Mexico.

“I think it’s very important to keep our culture alive,” Cavillo said. “ It is a good way to give the kids understanding with the history because every single dance has a history … the steps, the forms, everything has history.”

Lots of hard work and preparation goes into creating a performance but Cavillo estimates that within three months the dancers would be ready to take on anything. Day of performance preparation includes lengthy make-up and hair routines for the girls and costuming for all dancers. In the end, both the performers and the audience benefit from their hard work.

When I am a dancer one of my favorite parts … is how happy you can make the people,” Cavillo said. “I think it’s a big nice accomplishment as a dancer that you can see smiling, see crying, all those kinds of things especially for people that don’t have too much opportunity to go to their countries … at some point, they see this and they remember where they came from.”

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