Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆
Most people know Mexico is hot; we certainly have no qualms downing their tasty burritos now available on every corner in London. But watching Ballet Folklorico de Mexico at the Coliseum, you are reminded just how sizzling hot Mexico really is.
Combining 40 modern and classical dancers, along with an impressive 16-man Mariachi band, the show is a lively cultural ambassador for the country that sits between the US and Central America.
The zest of colours in the women’s intricately made skirts (resembling a peacock’s fan of feathers), shawls, headdresses and scarves is so refreshing to the eye, a wave of smiles can be seen flashing across the auditorium.
While the male dancers contrast in more dapper dress, wearing European-esque smartly-lined suits, pointy boots do not go amiss, nor do the sombreros (hats) and brightly-woven sarapes (blanket capes) worn by the musicians.
Pay close attention to the handmade instruments within the band. You may have heard the decisive rattling sounds from hand-held mariachis, but the expressive combo of trumpets, violins, bass and harp, however, might bring new music to your ears (and body).
In just under two hours, a rainbow of exquisite song and dance presents itself through the many elements of Mexico’s traditional folklore. From mythological representations of birds and deer hunters to big carnivals celebrating religion and the evasion of evil spirits, each aspect of the country’s heritage is exemplified with energy and verve.
The show was created by choreographer Amalia Hernandez, who is considered a Mexican icon for establishing The Mexican Academy of Dance in 1946, and dance company Ballet Folklorico de Mexico shortly thereafter in 1952. With the support of her two daughters and grandchildren (note Salvador Lopez’s skilful lasso manoeuvring), the show travels across the world showcasing Mexican customs.
Prepare yourself for full immersion of rhythmic beats and moves. We all could use a touch of Mexico’s heart and soul once in a while. You may even get to partner up with one of the stunning dancers…
It’s a short run but if you miss the show tonight, the tour continues throughout England, Europe, America and Australia until November.
Ballet Folklorico de Mexico concludes today at London’s Coliseum (ENO), shows at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets from £15-£80.