Ballet Folklorico “Quetzalli” Brings Colorful Legacy to Orpheum Theater

Mar 10, 2016, 13:22 PM by Michael Frisco

Omaha, Neb. – March 10, 2016Ballet Folklorico “Quetzalli” de Veracruz brings the flamboyant tradition of Mexican folkloric dance to the Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St., Thursday, April 14, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $10, and are available at, 402.345.0606 or at the Ticket Omaha Box Office inside the Holland Performing Arts Center. This performance is sponsored by the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Hospitality sponsor is Hotel Deco.

Founded in 1985 by Maestro Hugo Betancourt, Ballet Folklorico “Quetzalli” de Veracruz makes its home in Xalapa, the capital of the Eastern Mexico gulf state of Veracruz. They have toured internationally performing traditional folkloric dances, as well as their Afro-Caribbean spectacular, “Carnaval Veracruzano”. The company has been the official representative for 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 also recently performed in Peru, Spain, Germany, Dubai, Taiwan and Canada. In all, the company has performed in more than 20 different countries on 4 continents. 2015 marked the group’s 30th anniversary which included a U.S. tour as well as a gala performance in the home city of Xalapa’s Teatro del Estado and appearances around Mexico.

Mexican Folkloric Dance
The history of Mexican dance starts with ancient cultures, which flourished in the country during the 3000 years preceding the arrival of the first Europeans. Highly refined representations of shamans (medicine men or those who worked with the supernatural), acrobats, musicians and dancers dating back to as early as 1500 B.C. have been found across Mexico, along with a great number of pre-Columbian musical instruments. Whistles, flutes, trumpets, ocarinas, drums (composed of metal, wood and clay), bells, rattles and scrapers all accompanied the dances and song of the religious and festive ceremonies.

The Spanish arrived in Mexico in 1519 A.D., and added new ingredients to the culture. Along with the language, the Spanish added new songs, new dances and new musical instruments, which contributed to the diversity of expression. In the music and dance of sones (the generic name given to folk melodies) such as those of Veracruz, one more element is present, the influence of African rhythms. They were contributed by slaves who worked the sugar cane in colonial times. Each region of Mexico has its own dances, corresponding to its physical climate and traditions.