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Tenochtli Dance Troupe Brings Mexican Culture to Community – Daily Local

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How many Kennett residents have noticed brightly colored costumed dancers at recent parades and events?

They have been reborn since their earliest days, when Sister Jane Houtman began her personal mission in 1993 to bring the expression of Mexican culture to South Chester County. She single-handedly taught the traditional Mexican dances commonly taught in primary schools in Mexico and purchased authentic costumes to bring full expression to her performances. I have played at events.

The performance had its glory days and its more difficult days. Veteran dancers go to college and group sizes shrink. At one point, a former dancer who had graduated from college and turned professional in the community led a dance group. It took me so long to keep going.

In August 2021, Mayra Castillo, Vice President of Casa Guanajuato, announced that Casa Guanajuato, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and preserve Mexican culture and customs and foster personal and community development, will become part of Casa Guanajuato. , helped bring this dance company to life. These were COVID prevention days, so the dancers wore masks and began practicing at the Saint Rocco Parish Living Center in Avondale.

After consulting with Sister Jane Houtman, Myra Castillo took the initiative to teach the dancers and manage the troupe. Starting with 8 dancers, she now has 20. Elegant dance costumes are kept in St. Her Rockos. They were previously purchased by Sister Jane of Toluca. Jalisco; and Nuevo Leon, Mexico, representing Mexico as a whole.

Lucy Benaitz is one of the original dancers who is back in full swing. I recently interviewed her and she shares her story. When I heard that the dance troupe was going to be active again, I knew it would bring new energy to my healing. Coming to this country, I learned a few dances in school and participating in these dances is an indescribable feeling of ‘home’ and sharing my heritage with the wider community. I really enjoy that. ”

A college graduate, Lucy now has a full-time job in the financial industry, is a mother of two, and is pursuing a career in broadcasting. Because she loves cultural dance, she says she “makes time for what’s most important in her life and her Mexican dance group is an absolute top priority.”

Youth are also invited to participate in cultural dances. Lucy goes on to talk about her 10-year-old daughter, who has come with her to a performance and she now wants to be a dancer. She says that young people who are part of a group are usually shy at first, and when they are encouraged by adult dancers to “have fun” and realize that they are not professional dancers, they gain confidence and develop self-esteem. points out. return to their lives.

Six young people between the ages of 8 and 10 are involved. Myra Castillo’s 13-year-old son also participated. Lucy adds:

In launching the group, Lucy said it’s easy to invite memberships and showcase their performances using Facebook (ke pasa?) and social media. It’s another world. She’s amazed at how quickly the word has spread, and welcomes the community to check out her Casa Guanajuato Facebook page to see photos of some of her performances: https:/ /www.facebook.com/CasaGuanajuatoKS/

The Tenochtli Dance Group will have a series of engagements over the weekend in August. They said he’s going to Phoenixville at the end of July. Brandywine River Museum on August 7th. Celebrating his one year anniversary at St. Rocco’s on August 14th and Manatial Ice Cream on Rt 41 on August 20th.

Looking to the future, Lucy said the vision the theater company holds is to inspire other cultures to celebrate folk dances and showcase them in the community.

Lucy adds that Tenochtli Dance Troupe dance members do not have to be from Mexico. On Monday or Thursday nights at 7pm St. She can come to Rocco’s Parrish Her Life Center to attend a dance study and attend a performance. The key is having fun and having a genuine passion to share with the wider community.

“The Story of Kennett – Shaping the future one child at a time” Joan Holliday and Bob George’s book on Kennett is available on Amazon and at Kennett’s Mushroom Cap or Resale Book Shop. Contact Joan Holliday at: dochollisv@aol.com