Tuesday, May 13, 1997

Third HACER Show a Success, Chicago Maroon

Third HACER Show a Success

By Pamela Appea
The Chicago Maroon

Mexican nationalist poetry, flamenco dancing and the folkloric traditions of Bolivia, among other acts, were artfully presented to over 300 students and community residents who attended the Hispanic Association for Cultural Expression and Recognition’s (HACER) third annual cultural show this past Saturday, May 10, at Ida Noyes Hall.

“Overall, I believe that the show was a tremendous success. All the major regions of Latin America were represented with song and dance,” said Nubia Chaidez, HACER director of student affairs, and a second-year student at the College.

Nobleza Azteca, a Mexican folkloric dance team, started out the show. Nobleza, a twenty-person group consisting of Chicago Public City school children performed seven different dance numbers while dressed in traditional billowing white and vivid multi-colored Mexican dresses. The dancers performed a complex candle dance, a sun dance, and a mambo dance among other numbers.

Next, a nine-person group played the marimba, a traditional Guatemalan percussion instrument played with wooden mallets which is similar to the xylophone.

“Our music is an expression of our faith. The marimba of Guatemala is a manifestation that remains in the history of our people and in the rhythmic and melodic expressions,” said a spokesperson for the group.

In keeping with this nationalistic tradition, painted and carved on the marimba were creative, colorful representations of indigenous gods, and as well as the quetzal, the national bird of Guatemala. According to one of the instrumentalists, the Guatemalan marimba is made from a special kind of wood which can only be found in certain regions of Central America.

Energetic folkloric Bolivian dances were interspersed between acts.

“Some dances have an “Afro-Bolivian feel to them,” said Carolina Saavedra, a dancer in the Bolivian troupe.

She explained that the sound of the bells on the dancers’ ankles during the dance symbolized the noise of the shackles on slaves ankles. “The dance, ultimately, is about freedom, strength and power,” said Saavedra.

“It’s a liberating dance,” said Monica Angeleno, another long-time member of the troupe. She added that the costumes’ colors or designs usually have a certain symbolic meaning or value, depending on what dance is performed. Many of these handmade costumes take months to complete.

Several attendees enjoyed the Bolivian dance troupe. “[Watching] the Bolivian folkloric dance was a good learning experience. This [means of cultural expression] is new to me. I could imagine taking [dance] class to try out some of it,” said Earick Rayburn, a first-year student in the College.

The HACER cultural show also featured a Spanish flamenco performance, which included guitar, vocals and dance and Kuumba Lynx, which featured poetry, dance and rap. Tango Bar featured tango dancing and several students performed Caribbean Mosaique dance numbers. Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian art form which combines music, martial arts and dance, was presented as well.

The majority of audience members liked the diversity of acts within the show and plan to attend next year. Gaston Angulo enjoyed the show immensely. It was the long-time Chicago resident’s first trip to both the U of C and the HACER cultural show.

“If we didn’t have shows such as these, we would miss our customs, songs, folklore and Latin/African roots,” Angulo said.

“If I didn’t [talk about our heritage] to my children, [these] traditions wouldn’t be passed on,” he said.

However many cultural attendees felt there could have been some improvements. A few U of C students complained that the nearly four-hour show was “too long,” and one or two acts in the middle of the show should have been eliminated or shortened.

William Espinoza, a community resident, wondered why there were so few Caucasians in the audience. Espinoza was curious if it was because Caucasians are “apathetic” and do not enjoy Latino cultural shows or HACER members and other Latinos do not publicize these events enough outside the Latino community.

“We should try to involve [and consequently] enrich the Anglo community in events such as these,” he said.

“It was very nice show,” said Domingo Andreuzzi, a Chicago resident, whose wife danced with the Bolivian dance troupe.

He mentioned that some technical improvements could be made such as using a wider stage for the dancers and more efficient lighting, which was shining in the audiences faces.

Robyn McCoy, A.B. ’96, from Michigan enjoyed the show. “I’m glad I came,” she said. “Cultural shows like these are really a treasure.”

A pre-show catered dinner was served buffet style on the first and third floors of Ida Noyes Hall. There was a great variety of meat and vegetarian dishes. Tania’s, Piccolo Mondo CafĂ©, Gonnella Baking Company, and Empanadas Unlimited catered the event.

Tickets cost eight dollars for U of C students and ten dollars for other attendees. A small discount was offered to those who purchased show tickets in advance.

A few Caribbean dance party, sponsored by HACER, was held after the show at the Reynolds Club.

Originally published May 13, 1997