At Shorewood last Friday night, right after intermission of World Night, the audience was treated to a swirling performance of Mexican folk dancing by 11 young women and one young man.
It was a long road, perhaps to this performance, but one that seemed worth it to the smilling, graceful faces of the dancers.
A group of Latino Shorewood High School students, mostly girls, had begun to wonder what their place was at the school earlier in the year.
“They felt they did not have enough presence in the school,” said Dahlia Corona, a community service officer with the Shoreline Police. “When you feel marginalized you act out and feel negative. If they can be represented in a positive way it works to their benefit.”
A conflict between two girls led to Corona being called out to mediate. Eventually it was resolved but she felt there was a need to do more.
“It gave me an idea of how to work with them,” Corona said.
Corona suggested etiquette classes to work on their self-esteem but they chose dance, Mexican folk dance in particular, to express themselves.
“It’s a tradition passed from generation to generation,” Corona said.
Frida Avila, a junior originally from Veracruz, Mexico and an English as a Second Language student at the school, said it was a special night for her and her friends.
She was one of the girls involved in the original conflict. The other girl has since left Shorewood, however Corona said that girl was in the audience on Friday to watch the performances.
The plan is that the group will continue to perform. They are using borrowed costumes for now. Working with the group is, “very fun,” Corona said.
“One of the main goals of the group is to teach community about cultural awareness and work on other projects and fundraise,” Corona said.
The Shorewood students who performed Friday are Avila, Isamar Lopez, Jennifer Ramirez, Carla Cortes, Nancy Montiel, Elizabeth Perez Garcia, Maria Medina, Barbara Medina, Viviana Lee, Raquel Martinex-Bringas, Edith Martinez-Bringas, and the sole guy to participate, so far, Luis Bibiano-Balbuena.
The group wants to perform at nursing homes or wherever they are invited and people take an interest, Corona said.
Corona was born in California but her parents immigrated from Jalisco, Mexico. As a Spanish speaker she is a liaison between the police and the community.
She mostly works with victims of domestic violence and abuse, and helps with crime prevention.
Besides that her duties include trying to find ways to prevent crime in the community, which means working with schools and students.
If you would like to help these students with their fledgling program, donations are being accepted to help them purchase traditional outfits for performances and equipment and to help pay for traditional Mexican dance instruction. Contact Corona at 206-801-2719 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
World Night, an 11-year-tradition at Shorewood, included 15 different performances representing cultures from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Look later for photos and video of some of the other performances from World Night on Patch.