Maestra Blanca Araceli Soto is a veteran and accomplished actress, choreographer, director, producer and dancer. Her passion for the performing arts led her to study theater and dance at the University of Guadalajara, her natal city. As a dancer, she has 40 years of experience working with international dance companies such as: Ballet Folklorico del Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez, Floricanto U.S.A., Los Angeles Mexican Dance Company, among others. Since 1996, Blanca Araceli has been the director and choreographer of Tierra Blanca Dance Company where she delights in creating a unique expression with her work based on the music and history from Mexico and Latinos in the USA. Maestra Blanca has created several cultural programs to support local folk dances such as Semblanza Latinoamericana, Crónicas de México, to name a few.
At DUF 2016
Maestra Blanca will be teaching Veracruz Afro Mestizo Mexicano for ages 14+ with a minimum of three years of dancing experience. It is a physically challenging workshop; it demands good physical condition and some flexibility. The songs to be learned are: Canto de Negros / Conga de San Benito The African Dances: Veracruz Lunajero.
In this workshop students will learn about the particular part of history of Mexico on how the African culture became an influence and important part of today’s folklore. In the mid XVI and XVII century, the Black population had preponderance in number over the white. The powerful forces of their music, rhythm, and dance had great weight over the new musical tradition and dancing of the newly born Nation, Indio Afro-Mestiza-Mexicana. At the port of Veracruz, where the inquisition raised complaints against the so called “Chuchumbe,” they were considered dishonest dances. There were threats to excommunicate whoever practiced these dances, calling them “vulgar people, sailors, blacks and mulatos.” These dances are presented with deep joy for particular sacred celebrations, or serve to get in touch with the divine. The need to embody freedom opens the door to an expansive expression of liberty.