By John Chalmers from the May 2018 Edition
What could be a more complete Mexican experience than a home-cooked dinner enjoyed with live mariachi music and a spectacular performance of traditional Mexican dances!
That was what a capacity and appreciative crowd enjoyed on February 23 at an open-air pavilion, the Casino de el Naranjo, a short drive from the greater Manzanillo area. The facility is located beside the rodeo ring adjacent to the junction of Highway 200 west of Manzanillo and the road to Vida Del Mar, by the small town of El Naranjo. The casino came alive in the evening performance with a truly Mexican flair in the second annual event of music, dinner and dance by the local ballet folklórico dance group called Tynebeka Ti Kilen.
Led by instructor Angel Caro, the group’s name comes from an indigenous dialect in the state of Nayarit, where Angel studied dance. Tynebeka Ti Kilen is a phrase that means “little dancer.” In regular practices at the Vicente B. Ibarra School in El Naranjo, some two dozen young people from 6 to 18 years of age learn traditional dances from various Mexican states. The group’s public performance is a fund-raising event for Tynebeka Ti Kilen with pesos needed for costumes, dance shoes and other expenses.
The gala evening began with a home-cooked Mexican buffet prepared by the mothers of the dancers. Diners were treated to traditional dishes including guacamole, pozole, flautas, chiles rellenos, tamales and more. Of course, no Mexican fiesta would be complete without its national drinks cerveza fría and margaritas con hielo!
Live music and song from a four piece mariachi band started the evening as folks gathered to take their seats and line up for dinner. The show began when three of the girls in the troupe were paraded in on horseback to a welcoming crowd of 300 folks. From then on, it was non-stop dancing, expertly performed by the dedicated and enthusiastic youngsters. Beautiful dresses, swirling skirts, stamping feet, clashing machetes and lively music were all part of the performance.
One can’t help but admire the quality of instruction and skill seen in the dances, which are far more than good exercise for the kids! The teamwork, discipline, personal satisfaction, confidence and self-esteem are among the benefits of the program for the young participants. Perhaps the ultimate reward for both the dancers and the audience is enjoying the rich heritage that is presented in preserving cultural and historic traditions of this beautiful country. Olé! and Viva México!