Danzantes Unidos . . . a living legacy
For over 44 years, Danzantes Unidos has served as the thought leader for the folklorico community in the United States. Our events have brought together tens of thousands of dancers in united celebration and have fostered an atmosphere of sharing, caring and good will. There are many workshops offered by other organizations throughout the year and we applaud the work of those working hard in their communities. However, there is NOTHING like Danzantes Unidos anywhere in the ‘history of ever’ serving the cultural arts.
At the Danzantes Unidos Festival we will typically serve up to 2000+ dancers in 65+ workshops over the Palm Sunday weekend. Classes are separated by age and skill level. The bulk of our teaching staff are sourced from the CULTURAL GEMS residing throughout the State of California and a few from Mexico and other US States. We will also give an opportunity for up and coming young directors to give a class to foster their teaching careers. Folklorico Fun kicks off our youngest dancers’ training. Ages 3 and up can participate in a dance workshop along with their parents or caregiver. Folklorico for Veterans celebrates dancers that have been away for decades who wish to shake out the cobwebs.
Dance companies prepare and premiere their best work to share with their peers in the FOUR Showcase Concerts totaling over twelve hours and 900+ performers.
Our Mega Mercado brings together folklorico supply vendors that boost their sales significantly AND also serves to supply dance companies with their folklorico gear all in one place.
Parent Pavilion has been the gathering place for parents/chaperones to participate in free and low-cost activities such as folklorico fashion shows, stage makeup tutorials, headpieces and accessories workshops, prop and piñata making classes in paper mache, folklorico loteria, zumba dance for parents and the list goes on.
Additional workshops that have been offered in the past at NO-COST to DUF participants & chaperones have included:
- Folklorico 911 – sharing tips and strategies for the business administration of folklorico companies, board development & fundraising.
- Folklorico & the Law – covering everything from developing contracts, insurance for board indemnification, filing for nonprofit status to reporting to government agencies.
- Folklorico Media – offering a general overview of the creative principles used to produce effective multimedia and marketing materials. Topics include basic design principles, developing a strong Folklorico group identity, video storytelling, creating a social media presence and taking advantage of technology to produce impactful media on a tight budget.
- Folklorico Theater & Stagecraft – a hands-on workshop in the creative process of building scenery, backdrops & stage props.
- Art Exhibitions featuring the work of Visual Artists & Graphic Designers serving the folklorico community.
- Lectures on the History of Folklorico, Folklorico in the Schools, Field Research & Related Careers in Folklorico, Day of the Dead, Folklorico Costuming and the list goes on . . .
Our festival socials serve to foster unity and cohesiveness among dancers that attend from all over the United States and Mexico. These include the Free Friday Family Fandango in which everyone is invited to bring their musical instrument to jam and show their dance skills on the tarima; the University Folklorico Summit Luncheon Meet & Greet which brings together leaders of folklorico companies in collegiate settings to strategize for the Fall University Folklorico Summit and what some consider the REAL DUF–¡Pachanga!–where thousands of folklorico dancers let loose after an entire day of regimented dance instruction.
Dancers that attend our event, return home empowered and validated for their work throughout the year. But there is more . . .
Over the years, Danzantes Unidos has gone beyond the three-day weekend to offer:
MusiDanza – a series of dialogues and meetups between choreographers and musicians to foster the use of live music within theater performances. The series was enlightening for both sets of artists to learn the language to respectfully communicate during the creative process and to present both genres in their best light.
Director Dialogues – a series of dialogues and meetups throughout the six regions of California to address concerns at the director level in a relaxed, no-judgement, atmosphere. These were generally paired with the smaller, regional workshops known as . . .
Folklorico On Wheels – workshops tailored to a specific community and generally in underserved areas of the State. Because of their intimate nature, we could offer specific workshop experiences for dancers, educators and administrators. FOW workshops spanned the length and breadth of California from Chula Vista to Sacramento and Oxnard to Fresno and everything in between.
Danzantes Unidos de California – Statewide Performance Group
This performing company whose members included dance directors from groups throughout the state was active from 1989 to 1998. The company performed at venues throughout California and at national conferences in Oaxaca, Mexico and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Our newest and therefore, most active initiatives have been most impacted by the pandemic. They are:
University Folklorico Summit brings together the leaders of collegiate folklorico companies for a weekend of sharing, mentoring and validation. UFS has been held at UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, San Jose State University, UC Santa Cruz & UC Santa Barbara and has fostered leadership skills in over 1000 participants throughout its short existence. Workshops include panels in administration, grant-writing, nutrition, costuming, the LGTBQ experience, advocacy, folklorico history & dance repertoire.
Festival Sin Fronteras is a week-long, immersive foray to seek out the roots of our culture in Mexico. Classes include dance, music, gastronomia, artesania & cultural excursions. This family friendly event serves our intergenerational community. FSF has been held in Tepic, Nayarit; Patzcuaro, Michoacan & Oaxaca, Oaxaca. FSF 2023 will take place Summer 2023.
However, in order for us to thrive and survive . . . WE NEED YOUR HELP. Any amount of donation that you can share will combine with other donations to create a fund that will allow us to continue our work. There has not ever been a more difficult time facing Danzantes Unidos.
#GivingTuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It is touted as a “global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world”.
Danzantes Unidos, along with the rest of the world and other nonprofit organizations, brought their work to a grinding halt in March of 2019. Although we offered an online version of the festival in DUF 2020, our income essentially was cut off for two years. Since the announcement of the postponement and then cancellation of DUF 2019, email communications and newsletters were shared with our registrants and we processed nine hundred and sixty eight refunds to the dancers that requested a refund. Several opted to use their credit for DUF 2020 and others held in place for credit toward DUF 2022. Meanwhile, our operating expenses have continued to roll on . . . administration, storage rental, insurance, website maintenance, bank fees, etc. At this point in time it is critical to the continued existence of the organization to host a successful festival next Spring AND to source other areas from income from our community.
>>Please donate today<<and thank you for your continued support!
Maria Luisa Colmenarez
Executive Director, Danzantes Unidos
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