A group of students is establishing a student organization to practice Folklorico, a traditional Mexican dance.
Michelle Luse, GW Folklorico’s treasurer and a co-founder, said Folklorico is a Mexican traditional dance historically used as a form of expression but now simply represents Mexican culture. Members of GW Folklorico said they will host events, like potlucks and performances, for students to practice the dance and learn about Latinx culture.
“I decided to create GW Folklorico because it will be a different side for people to explore themselves,” Luse said. “I thought that it would be so cool for students to learn and enjoy something new.”
Luse said GW Folklorico officially registered as a student organization with the Center for Student Engagement earlier this month and will hold its first practice this week. The group, which is open to all students, currently has about 15 members, and about 70 students indicated to the founders that they were interested in the group at the student organization fair, she said.
Luse said the group will first perform in Kogan Plaza for Día de los Muertos – a multi-day Mexican holiday for family members and friends to remember people who have died – on Nov. 1. She said GW Folklorico has spoken with other student organizations, like GW’s Organization of Latin American Students, about the group’s plans for the semester and is planning to co-sponsor an event with GW Casa Blanca, a Latinx group on campus.
She said Folklorico dancers have to focus on postures, footwork and maintaining a smile while carrying a heavy skirt.
“It’s usually a lot of footwork and having to have a good posture for it because the skirts are really heavy,” she said. “Also, it’s really pretty to see the different colors from the skirts, it just inspires you.”
Sophia Razi, the president and one of the co-founders of the group, said GW Folklorico will encourage students to suggest dances styles they would like to learn in addition to Folklorico. Razi said current members are interested in learning Peruvian, El Salvadorian and Guatemalan dances.
“We have such a diverse population on campus and we wanted to be inclusive of all Latinx traditional dances, like Columbian and Peruvian,” Razi said. “You name it, we’ll dance it and do it.”
Razi said the group advertises on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
“A lot of people want to learn our culture, want to learn traditional dances and just providing them this open and inclusive space to do so is just really getting them excited and to showcase that,” she said.
Jocelyn Marquez, the vice president and co-founder of the organization, said that because GW is a predominantly white institution, Latinx students often face challenges when trying to embrace their cultures. Marques said some students fear appearing as an “outcast,” but that GW Folklorico aims to help its members feel more comfortable expressing themselves and their culture.
“Our objective is not only to help our members improve as dancers but to help them grow as people,” she said. “We accomplish this by creating a safe place for them to share their experiences and culture.”