The talented dancers will perform their spring international show, with dances from Cuba, Venezuela, Spain and Mexico and an historic tribute to the zoot suit era in the United States in the 1940s. The award-winning mariachis will perform between dance sets.
Grupo Tabasco and Mariachi Los Coyotes have received state, national and international recognition. They have performed in Washington, D.C., for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; in New Orleans for the French Quarter Festival; and in 1987 and 1994 they were invited to Nice, France, to perform for the annual Carnival celebration.
They have also performed for such dignitaries as Govs. Ann Richards and Mark White, Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr., Vice President Al Gore and presidential candidate Walter Mondale and Congressmen Edward Kennedy and “Kika” de la Garza.
Mariachi Los Coyotes and Grupo Folklorico Tabasco were formed during the 1982-83 school year. The philosophy for the two programs is to perform and preserve the folklore and culture of Mexico and Latin America through music and dance, as well as developing the unique gifts and talents of the participating students.
The mariachi program offers classes starting at the middle school levels and continuing with beginners, junior varsity and varsity groups in La Joya’s three high schools. In all, over 900 students receive instruction in guitarrón, guitar, vihuela, violin, trumpet and harp. The mariachi umbrella also includes programs in conjunto and rondalla. Presently, 15 students make up Mariachi Los Coyotes.
La Joya ISD has the largest dance department in Texas, with more than 2,000 students enrolled in dance classes taught by 15 full-time dance teachers. The dance program starts in the sixth grade with courses in dance technique (ballet, tap, jazz and modern) and folklórico at various levels, including beginners, intermediate and advanced. Presently, 40 students make up Grupo Folklórico Tabasco.
Each year more than 150 students audition for the group, whose vast repertoire results from the support of the school district, which allows the dance department to contract professionals for workshops from all over Mexico, as well as from Latin America.
“Most of our students have continued their education at colleges and universities that offer cultural scholarships and some have returned as teachers to our school district. Other students have their own performing mariachi groups or their own dance companies as a result of the training they received at La Joya High School,” said fine arts director Amancio J. Chapa Jr.
Admission for the March 29 performance is $7 for adults who do not hold BCA season tickets; all students through high school age will be admitted free, as well as CBC students with their photo ID’s.