Fiesta Mexicana showcases traditional dances

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Fiesta Mexicana, Grand Rapids’ annual Mexican festival, looks to bring in unique performers every year to enlighten the crowd at Calder Plaza. 

One of this year’s unique groups is Comparza La Pura Lumbre de Morelos, a dance troupe from Chicago that dresses up in colorful costumes. The dancers are known as Chinelos. 

Chinelos dancing originated in the Mexican state of Morelos in the 1800s. 

“It’s really cool,” said 12-year-old Brandon Ruiz, a member of the troupe. “I can show my tradition.”

Brandon learned the dance from his father, who also performs. He says dancing around in the costume is a tiring activity. 

“It’s so hot,” Ruiz said. 

Dozens of kids dancing in locally based Ballet Folklorico de Grand Rapids performed dances originating in other Mexican states. 

“There’s Sinaloa, that’s like two-colored dress and sometimes flowers,” said Maylynn Guerrero, a member of the group. “There’s Jalisco and Veracruz.”

The dancers go through several costume changes to match the types of dances they’re performing. They take pride in exhibiting their talents to festival goers. 

“A lot, because not many people really see the different cultures in each in Mexico,” said dancer Octavio Parada.

The annual festival wraps up on Sunday, with festivities beginning at 10 a.m.