Ballet folklorico dancers participate in a dance style and tradition influenced by the regions of Mexico, some parts of the United States and even a few Central American countries. This rich meld of cultures allows the dancers to wear a variety of costumes influenced by these many different areas. Costumes ranging from beautifully colored red and pink skirts to white shirts and denim will be found, all depending on the region and its particular influences.
Ballet Folklorico, U.S.A. Style
Those who dance in most parts of the Southwestern United States wear costumes that are influenced by American traditions. Male dancers often don denim and western-inspired shirts, while females can be found in similar outfits or in dresses and styles inspired by European traditions. American and European influences are easy to find in these costumes, even while the dance is more traditionally Mexican influenced.
Traditional Ballet Folklorico
If you travel a bit further South into Mexico, the costumes really start to get exciting. Costumes found in the Federal District of Mexico show the more traditional Spanish influence. Those in the Yucatan area really show the indigenous influences. In Northern Mexico, men wear black hats with wide-brims, white shirts and black pants with red accents in the belt and tie. Women wear tighter, shorter skirts with black or white boots.
Costumes in Jalisco will put the women in traditional ruffled skirts full of bright colors and ribbons. The women wear clog-like heels and fancy hair pieces. The heels are either white, red or black, dependent entirely upon the region and the particular song that is playing. These costumes can all be found in performances and classes at Steps of Gold Dance, a ballet folklorico company.
Costume Styles within Folklorico
Marital status and other influences may change the way that a costume is worn, dependent on the specific region. For example, in the Vera Cruz region, women wear white dress with white shoes and an apron. There is a bandana in the apron, and the location of the bandana and floral head piece are chosen based upon the individual’s marital status. A married woman would have the pieces on the left, while single women wear them on the right. Sinaloan dresses are generally lighter and more colorful, but colors may be based upon marital status.
Ballet folklorico costumes are based upon the region in which the dance is happening. Regional costumes will be based upon the influences for that region, whether American, European, Spanish or indigenous. Costumes can range from cowboy hats to large, ruffled skirts. To see some of these costumes in real life, performances at Steps of Gold Dance are great opportunities to learn more about the dance and to see performed live.