History of the Mexican Folkloric Dance Company of Chicago
Since its founding in 1982, the Mexican Folkloric Dance Company of Chicago (MFDC) has dedicated itself to showcasing the splendors of Mexican art and culture which resonate in the diverse, thrilling, and inspiring folkloric dance works. MFDC's performances reflect Mexico's rich history which shapes its traditional arts, culture, and values. The historical periods revealed in the dances include pre-Columbian indigenous times, the Spanish Colonial Period, the Struggle for Independence and the 1910 Mexican Revolution. This complex history includes also the story of many cultural influences merging with the ancient and glorious indigenous cultures of Mexico. The mixture of these various cultural elements has served to develop a grand archive of Mexican folkloric dance with its inspiring music and rich attire which now is "just Mexican" and unique.
Throughout its twenty-five year history the MFDC has provided free dance education and training to hundreds of children, youth and young adults in the Mexican communities of Chicago. It has given them the joy and beauty of participating in dance and a special opportunity to connect with their Mexican heritage. Through a two-tier system the company's two ensembles were created. This organization of the company has made it possible for young dancers of the first tier (Company 2) to grow and develop into a member of the more mature and seasoned dancers of the second tier (Company 1). To this end, each dance ensemble member is expected to attend dance lessons and rehearsals three times a week.
Through its captivating performances, MFDC has thrilled and entertained thousands of people from across Chicago, Illinois, the Midwest and the U.S. In 1988, it toured in the U.S. and in Mexico, where it received enthusiastic critical reviews. Since 1984, MFDC has not only performed but has also coordinated the annual Latino Horizons Festival of the Museum of Science and Industry. MFDC has a long and diverse list of performances, including performances before U.S. Presidents, city mayors, state governors and other heads of state who have been present among the audiences in major events like the 1987 Pan Am Games, the 1994 World Cup, or in official visits to Chicago.
MFDC is included in the Heartland Arts Fund Community Connections catalog that covers and reaches out to 15 states. The Heartland Arts Fund is a joint venture of Arts Midwest and the Mid-America Arts Alliance with major funding from the National Endowment of the Arts. In 1999, MFDC received the top 4 Star review from the Green Bay Press Gazette for performances in Green Bay Wisconsin. MFDC was selected by the Illinois Arts Council to be featured as one of Illinois' artistic treasures in "Arts Across Illinois", produced by WTTW Channel 11. Along with being funded by the IAC for more than 20 years, MFDC is on the roster of the IAC's Artstour Program.
Most recently, MFDC was chosen to dance at the Mariachi Festival presented at Disney World, in Orlando, Florida where it enjoyed the distinct honor of performing with the world renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. In November 2003 MFDC was commissioned by The Mexican Fine Arts Center-Museum to represent them in the inaugural program of Chicago's Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, where it shared the stage with the Joffrey Ballet, The Chicago Sinfonietta, Hubbard Street Dance, and The Lyric Opera of Chicago, generating favorable comments from the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. In the summer of 2006 Mr. & Mrs. Ovalle joined other renowned Latino performers to represent the Chicago Latino community at the Smithsonian Instituteâ€™s Chicago Latino Festival in Washington D.C., while Mr. Roa was quoted on the development of the community over the years. In February of 2007 Univision invited the company once again to participate in their annual "Premio Lo Nuestro" where they shared the stage with the most important Latino performers of today. And in November 2009 The Company was again invited by Univision to participate in the 10th Latin Grammys awards with megastar Juan Gabriel.