Q&A with José Alonso Rosales of Ballet Folklórico de México

José Alonso Rosales

The acclaimed Ballet Folklórico de México’s performance is Nov. 1 at the Ent Center for the Arts, and it stands to be one of the UCCS Artist Series’ most popular shows this season. As you experience the evening’s vibrant colors, music, and stories, keep an eye out for Denver native José Alonso Rosales. The UCCS Artist Series recently chatted with José about his lifelong love of dance, experience performing with the company, and passion for Mexican culture.

Buy tickets for the performance through the UCCS Presents Box Office.

Artist Series: Hometown?
José: I am originally from Denver, Colorado.

AS: Home now?
José: Currently, I am living in Mexico City. I have been living there now for 4 years.

AS: What’s on your playlist these days (Spotify, etc)?
José: Juan Gabriel, Rocio Dúrcal, Joan Sebastian, Euegenia Leon, Chavela Vargas, Classical Méxican Music, and one can never leave out a good playlist of oldies or 90’s R&B.

AS: Favorite place you’ve been on tour?
José: My first tour was in London, which was an unforgettable experience. I had the honor of dancing at the London Coliseum at the West End in the center of the theater district.

AS: We heard that your mom bought over 50 tickets to the show – that’s amazing! Has your family always been supportive of your dancing?
José: I am so fortunate that my family has always supported me and my passion for dance. When I found out I was going to be dancing in Colorado, I was excited to be able to perform for all my friends and family. This is my gift to them. I thank my parents constantly because they sacrificed so much to help me accomplish my dream of being a professional Folklórico dancer with the most prestigious dance company in México. My sister saw me perform for the first time since I started dancing professionally in San Antonio, Texas. After the show she hugged me tight and told me how proud she was that I never stopped reaching for the stars, and that she was happy to see me living my dream. I want to be a role model for my family and show them that with discipline, determination, and dedication, dreams really do come true.

AS: How long have you been dancing? What/who inspired you to start?
José: I started dancing at the age of 10 and have been dancing now for 15 years. As a little boy, I would see pictures of my mother dancing Méxican Folklórico and I would always tell her that I wanted to dance like her. I could never find my place in sports or clubs in school and my mother saw that I was having a hard time finding myself. She enrolled me in my first dance class and that was all it took. I remember that all I wanted to do was dance—I would dance in the grocery store while my mom picked up dinner and on hardwood floors throughout the house. Any chance I had I would be stomping my feet away. I guess that is why they call me “Happy Feet.” I am so fortunate that I have parents who supported my love for the arts.

José Alonso Rosales

AS: Ballet Folklórico is legendary – What is most exciting about performing with the company?
José: The most exciting thing about dancing with the company is dancing in the Palace of Fine Arts in México City. The feeling of adrenaline that moves through my body when I hear “Third call” to the final bow is one of a kind. More importantly, it is exciting to be considered an ambassador of culture representing the United States in México—I am the only U.S. born male dancer but am fortunate enough to represent México throughout the world as the son of a Méxican immigrant father. The amount of cities we visit, beautiful theaters we dance in, and the unique cultures we are introduced to makes this way of life even more exciting.

AS: What would you like the audience to take away from seeing this performance?
José: I would like the audience to see México for what it really is. Culture, tradition and art. México has been given a bad name throughout the years and it is my mission as a Méxican Folklórico dancer, performing in-front of many U.S. audiences, to help shift the negative image of México into a positive one. The show is filled with color, music, dance, and history. What the people will see on stage is the real México, not the México portrayed on the news or social media. Connecting with my Méxican culture is huge, as this was taken away from me in many different circumstances back home. I get to live and experience what my ancestors did while living my dream. Knowing how important this was and is to me, I would like to share this feeling with people who have Méxican roots to help them connect with their culture and gain agency over their true identities. We should not be ashamed of who we are. We should be proud to say we are Mexican.

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