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Dancing horse helps students celebrate Mexican heritage (w/video)

By Elena Watts
May 3, 2014 at 12:03 a.m.

Raven Garcia, 14, of Port Lavaca, performs a dance at Calhoun High School's Cinco de Mayo celebration. The celebration was organized by the high school's Spanish department.

PORT LAVACA - Noe Cano and his horse, El Dorado, both of Seadrift, performed for his daughter and the other Spanish students at Calhoun High School to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on Friday.

In sync with the music, El Dorado tapped his horse shoes rhythmically on the pavement in front of the high school auditorium as his trainer bounced above in his saddle.

"It's a Mexican tradition and a way to celebrate our heritage," said Noemi Cano, Noe Cano's daughter.

Noemi, 14, watched from the surrounding steps and grassy areas with her classmates and Spanish teachers.

Two of Noe Cano's nine horses dance, but El Dorado is "consentido," the Spanish word for spoiled, Noemi said.

The other horses are trained by Cano for various rodeo sports including racing and lassoing.

Ballet folklorico dancers also performed at the school's eighth celebration of Mexican heritage. Nearby, students took turns swinging a stick at a festive pinata hanging from a tree limb.

Students also brought and shared foods from different areas of Mexico, said Lupe Solis, event co-coordinator and Spanish teacher.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexicans' victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla, which was fought May 5, 1862, in Puebla, Mexico.

In Mexico, the holiday is celebrated primarily in Puebla, said Felix Salinas, event co-coordinator and Spanish teacher. The United States adopted the Mexican holiday during the Chicano Movement in the 1960s.

Port Lavaca is about 65 percent Hispanic, and the students need to understand the importance of their heritage, Solis said.

"The students are not exposed to this music and these costumes on a daily basis," Solis said.

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