Pima folklorico dance class to debut with 'On the Rise' show

Pima Community College’s ballet folklorico class makes its performance debut during Pima Dance’s “On the Rise.” 

The show is the collective creative effort of PCC students and faculty as well as guest choreographers. It will take place on Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in the PCC Center for the Arts. There won’t only be folklorico but also hip hop and Latin rhythms.

“There is a Latin flair to the show,” said dance discipline lead and director LeighAnn Rangel Sotomayor.

There will be folklorico performances by Pima’s class as well as Tucson High School’s folklorico group, Los Tucsonenses, and Arizona Folklorico Dance Company, who will perform on Dec. 2 only. The Tucson Casineros will dance on Saturday night as well.

“We of course want to start a folklorico group eventually, in the future, and have them perform in the community,” Sotomayor said. “But that’s in the future. Right now, we have people who are new to folklorico and people who maybe danced when they were younger and are coming back to it. For most of them, it might be their first time performing.”

Guest choreographers that will be highlighted in “On the Rise” are Jennifer Joloubek from Ballet Tucson and Claire Hancock, who has been part of Tucson’s dance tapestry for years — she founded the Artifact Dance Project in 2009. 

Also, Breakout Studio’s Life Moves Dance Company will perform on Friday evening.

Sotomayor said she is excited for Pima’s class to introduce itself to the community and for the audience to see the students’ work on stage. Pima Dance student Daniel Avila will be showcasing his choreography skills by bringing his Ecuadorian roots to the group aside from dancing with the Tucson Casineros.

“I’m so excited about the student growth and the opportunities they have to dance,” Sotomayor said. “Students who are choreographing are forming a supportive community with each other, which is so exciting to see. It’s like a second family and it’s fun to see them experience dance.”

“On the Rise” is a family-friendly show and tickets are $10 although discounts are available for students of all ages, military, seniors and Pima students get a free ticket.

“I want people to know that it’s not too late to start dancing,” Sotomayor said. “When you feel like you belong, it’s more likely people will stay in school and I hope dance can do that for people here.”