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Arts & Culture

Fusion dance troupe combines dance genres at San Antonio’s Carver Center

Valentina girl sitting, side profile 5I9A3200-Edit.jpg
Eddy Fernandez
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Andrea Guajardo, Valentina

A new dance troupe is set to play Saturday at The Carver Center’s Jo Long Theater. The dance troupe was co-founded by Andrea Guajardo, who was raised in the Rio Grande Valley, dancing primarily ballet. As many young people there did, she also took jazz, tumbling and folklorico as well.

Valentina girl in hat with rifle upright and on pointe I9A2523.jpg
Eddy Fernandez
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Valentina girl in hat with rifle upright and on pointe

“As I got older, I decided that I wanted to be a ballet dancer and moved to New York and pursue my dream of being that type of dancer,” Guajardo said.

She put the folklorico dancing behind her, and continued studying other dance genres in school.

“I graduated in four years, toured with a company called Momix, which is a contemporary illusionist dance company,” she said.

But then she came across something quite surprising: a folklorico dance company in New York.

“I was so shocked. I didn't know that that was a thing,” Guajardo said. “I didn't know that it was outside of Texas or California. And so I was super intrigued.”

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She auditioned and was invited to join. As she danced, her appreciation for folklorico grew by leaps and bounds, and she had an idea. She decided to create a troupe combining ballet and folklorico. She called it Ballet Nepantla.

“It translates to ‘the in-between spaces’ or’ an in-between-ness.’ We fuse these genres of dance,” she said. “And we have some dances that are traditional folk, we have some dances that are just contemporary ballet, and we have some dances that are in-between or a fusion of the two.”

reduced size Valentina boy and girl dancing pose5I9A3276.jpg
Eddy Fernandez
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Valentina boy and girl dancing

She and partner Martin Rodriguez first produced Sin Fronteras — Without Borders — and their new production is called Valentina.

“I was really inspired by ballet folklorico de Mexico's Amalia Hernandez's Revolucion Quadro, which is a segment about the Mexican Revolution,” Guajardo said.
This was the leaping off point for Valentina where, unlike most ballets, you see women dancing while holding rifles.

“It takes people by surprise at first when they see it, and then they want to know why are all these women holding rifles?” she said.

That’s the story being told, and the one people will see at the Carver’s Jo Long Theater on Saturday night, March 5. Guajardo says that those who come can expect the unexpected.

“People can expect to see something they've never seen before and to hopefully leave having laughed, cried, felt all the emotions and learn something new,” she said.

Ballet Nepantla Valentina OFFICIAL PROMO

Tickets can be found here.

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