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Campus Communications
Laura Dahl, Director
P.O. Box 430, Goodwell, Oklahoma 73939
Phone: 580-349-1354 * Fax: 580-349-1350
Email: lola@opsu.edu

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Dora Herrera, left and Natividad Adame, both of Garden City dance as Daniel Guadián of Guymon displays his skill in the Los Machetes dance traditional to the State of Jalisco. Right, Lisa Dang of Guymon and Luis López of Garden City in one of the Puebla dances. - Laura Dahl photos

**For Immediate Release**
Students Turn Up the Heat with Dance Performance
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 07/20/06
by Laura Dahl

Goodwell, Okla. — Colorful swirling skirts and faces wreathed in smiles lit the stage in Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s Hughes-Strong Auditorium Friday night. Participants in the third annual Mexican Traditions Workshop on the OPSU campus last week demonstrated the traditional Mexican dances they learned under the direction of Alex and Mary Palencia. OPSU’s Dean of Liberal Arts, Sara Richter, was among those in the audience. Following the performance she said, “The exciting production was panoply of color and flirtation! I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm as the rhythms and sounds encouraged me to participate.” The audience clapped to the beat, whistled, and called out, showing support for youth on stage.

The students showcased dances from three Mexican states including Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Puebla. The crowd enjoyed the Los Machetes dance in the Jalisco set where the young men incorporated knives in their moves. The Zacatecas dances included two Popurrís, each a series of three lively dances that switched between different rhythms such as waltz, polka, and mazurka. The dances from Puebla featured gorgeous costumes with the women in hand-sewn sequined skirts and the men attired in fancy flared trousers, red cummerbunds and black boleros with military-style trim.

In order to allow for costume changes, Alex and Mary Palencia performed at the end of each set. One dance they executed was the popular, traditional Mexican Hat dance, and then the youth took the stage for their final number, a Mambo choreographed by Senora Palencia. Dressed in black, the dancers performed to the popular dance tune “Mambo #5,” released by Lou Bega. The contemporary dance allows the students freedom to exhibit their own style and provided a wonderful finale.

For the third year, the Oklahoma Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts have provided a generous grant for this cultural, educational opportunity. The five-day workshop offered participants not only dance lessons, but also instruction in Mexican culture and arts. The youth displayed the crafts they created in the auditorium lobby that included cornhusk dolls, paintings depicting pre-Colombian designs, and the traditional Eye of God ornaments. In addition, the students helped design and paint the backdrop used in the dance performance.

Another member of the audience, Melyn Johnson, Community Development Director for the City of Guymon, said, “Watching the talent exhibited by the students is the best part, not to mention the beautiful costumes. And seeing their enthusiasm and dedication is extraordinary. What these kids are accomplishing is really awesome.”

Following is a list of students participating in the camp.

Name School
Exna Aburto Garden City High School
Natividad Adame Garden City High School
Maribel Carrillo Garden City High School
Marisol Chavarria Garden City High School
Mike Chávez Guymon High School
Francisca Cruz Garden City High School
Lisa Dang Guymon High School
Jessica Galindo Oklahoma Panhandle State University
Daniel Guadián Guymon High School
Dora Herrera Garden City High School
José Jáuregui Guymon High School
Luis López Garden City High School
Miguel Silva Guymon High School
Karina Villalobos Guymon High School

Alex and Mary Palencia combine more than 25 years of experience as dancers, instructors, choreographers and directors. A part of Mexico 2000 Ballet Folklórico Dance Companies, they perform for many cultural and private events, have presented more than 500 performances in 6 years. They also compete nationally and have won more than 125 trophies.

OPSU commends the Palencias and the students for their hard work and thanks them providing a phenomenal performance!

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