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Columbian Folkloric Ballet's 'Mi Columbia' a Dynamic Program

by Rita Kohn
June 28, 2014
Zionsville Performing Arts Center
1000 Mulberrry St.
Zionsville, IN 46077
(317) 873-3355
This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
The Columbian Folkloric Ballet, headquartered in Houston, Texas, showcased the dynamics of Columbia's cultural and political history through "Mi Columbia," a folk-ballet that spanned their indigenous origins, the arrival of the Spanish in 1499, subsequent arrival of enslaved Africans in the 19th century and immigrants from Europe and the Middle East in the 20th.

Equally influenced by the dynamics of geography, the Republic of Columbia, located in the far northwest corner of South America, is one of 17 megadiverse countries represented by the Andes Mountains, rainforests, tropical grassland and Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. Bordered by Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, the influences of these nations also show up in the culture of Columbia. Thus "Mi Columbia's" 23 episodes swirl into a mélange of rhythms, colors, attitudes, activities, events bumping into each other as distinctive folk dances, and finally to a one-dance fits all as 21st century technology levels movement to hi-hop.

Artistic director Priscilla Rivas worked with choreographer Jairo Lastre to create a loosely based storyline of intercultural male-female relationships from the 15th to the 21st century, each fraught with the challenges of melding vastly different worldviews and local mores into lasting love.

We watch, with a broadening smile, as the tilt changes from the jilted 15th century Indian female by a conquistador to the empowered 21st century urban woman who snubs overtures from the visitor from abroad.

Eighteen dancers pair off and reconfigure into various groupings to depict dances that make up Columbia's multifaceted population—Amazonian natives, cattlemen, farm folk, urban workers, bullfighters; social and tribal dances, solo entertainments and festivals. Their vibrancy earned the standing ovation.

Particularly commendable are the authentic clothing for the disparate groups and the lighting. The program was presented by SADCO, Sociedad Amigos Colombia, formed in 1986 "to contribute to the enhancement of educational opportunities for all Hispanics" in greater Indianapolis. Providing scholarships is a major part of SADCO's mission. More at http://sadco.org/ and http://www.cfb-usa.org/
Photo courtesy of Colombian Folkloric Ballet.

Photo courtesy of Colombian Folkloric Ballet.


Photo courtesy of Colombian Folkloric Ballet.

Photo courtesy of Colombian Folkloric Ballet.


Photo courtesy of Colombian Folkloric Ballet.

Photo courtesy of Colombian Folkloric Ballet.

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