Victoria East Titans unleash school spirit (Video)
Aug. 17, 2013 at 3:17 a.m.
Updated Aug. 18, 2013 at 3:18 a.m.
Jorge Perez bows to his partner, his black and deep red sombrero shadowing his face as the opening notes to "El Jarabe Tapatio" stream through the speakers.
The 16-year-old Victoria East High School student stops for a moment to look at his partner, Juhree Rodriguez, 17 - maybe to admire her bright red lips or her white and green dress that gleams with embellishment - and then breaks away, stomping the field around her but never losing eye contact.
The pair, who are part of Victoria East High School Ballet Folklorico, helped welcome their upcoming classmates and families Saturday at the Unleash the Titan parade at Memorial Field. Close to a thousand people filled the bleachers.
Other student organizations and teams such as the hip hop crew, basketball team and tennis teams rallied at the event.
Football booster club president Marc Pullin said the high school began the rally four years ago as a kickoff to the new year and to parade school spirit.
"We chose to do this because it's part of our culture, and we put our heart and soul into this," Juhree said, still breathless after performing. "I hope the crowd appreciates the dance, and it will spark an interest in them."
Ballet Folklorico is a collection of traditional Latin folk dances that emphasize the many cultures in Mexico and Central America.
Ballet Folklorico is taught as a class at the high school. Teacher Elsa Garcia Pina said the class teaches students everything from traditions to self-confidence.
"Their traditions and history don't die just because they are in the United States," she said. "They live on."
Juhree said she signed up for her first class four years ago when she was a freshman because she wanted to learn more about the culture in Chihuahua, Mexico.
"I knew nothing," she said.
Jorge said he began dancing Folklorico when he lived in Guanajuato, Mexico more than 11 years ago and that the dance he performed at the pep rally showcased how Mexicans used to flirt back in the day.
"Each song has its own story," he said. "Each song has its own passions and styles. It's not just dancing. It's a way of living."