At Selma High School, the Mexican Dance class represents not only a dance class, but a culture. Los Paisanos, the group’s name, has had a part in Selma’s community for 52 years. To students that join the elective, the class is a way to express pride in their culture, or learn about a new one. The program’s history holds importance to many students because many of their family members were once a part of it and danced for them. As each dance in Mexican Dance represents a different part of Mexico, and each dance has its own indigenous and European touch.
Ramon Martinez personifies the spirit and dedication associated with Mexican dance. After a childhood in Mexico, he views the program as a way to connect to his Mexican roots and culture. Ramon is a dedicated and studious student who not only is his fourth year in advanced Mexican Dance, but also volunteers at the downtown dance program to teach and take classes.
“He puts in the passion and dedication that is needed,” explained Lisette Salgado, the advisor. She appreciates the effort needed to thrive in the program.
To him, it’s a way to stay in touch and learn more about the history of Mexico and its arts.
“It matters to me because it gives me the ability to perform my artistic and creative side, while contributing to my culture and Hispanic heritage,” commented Ramon.
He is a devoted dancer, who takes pride in the program.
“Apart from being a way to express myself, Mexican Dance is my same heritage, since I’m from Mexico, and it’s a way to express myself other than just language,” said Martinez.
As a dancer, Mexican dance gives him a platform and is one of his main hobbies. He especially enjoys the wide variety of dances that they teach, as they focus on different areas of Mexico with each dance.
Ramon appreciates the class because he gets to bond and share moments with people.
“You don’t get to talk a lot in some of the other classes, but with this, you get to share special moments or performances with people, and discover your passion.”
As someone who likes to talk and make friendships, dancing with Los Paisanos allows him to explore his inner social butterfly.
Martinez loves to perform, and being in Mexican dance has helped him get rid of his fear of being on stage, and has given him a better sense of friendships.
“We get a feel of becoming a family and sharing those little moments,” said Martinez with a nervous laugh.
Over his years of being in this class, he’s grown attached and fond of Mexican Dance because it gives him a sense of home and family. His family always tries to see him perform and likes to become part of his home heritage. The program gives him a sense of community and helps him, along with others, to learn about the rich culture Mexico holds.
It helps him hold onto where he is from.