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Legends of Mexico: Learning culture through storytelling

Gerardo Calderon and Nelda Reyes with Pre-Columbian instruments. Photo submitted by Nelda Reyes and Gerardo Calderon.
Nelda Reyes telling the Huatchi legend of the peanuts. Photo submitted by Nelda Reyes and Gerardo Calderon.

Students will have a chance to immerse themselves in the myths and legends for which Mexico is known.
Students can experience pre-Hispanic culture on May 8 through storytelling, music and dance.
The performance will be one hour of storytelling focusing on pre-Hispanic legends with a musical and theatrical accompaniment, explained Evelia Sandoval, the director of the Latino program at Central Oregon Community College.
Sandoval was the leading force in getting the performers to Central Oregon. She feels this event is an important and exciting way for students to learn about and celebrate another culture.
“We celebrate culture and learn a lot about culture through dance, storytelling and music,” Sandoval said. “[This event] is a way for students to learn a lot about culture and about the ancient people of Mexico.”
The performance will be presented by Nelda Reyes and Gerardo Calderon of Portland.
“We started this program because of the necessity of being in touch with native cultures,” Calderon said. “This program is a unique combination of dance, culture and live music.”
The performance at COCC will be started with a traditional song, after which presenters will introduce the first legend, as well as a traditional Aztec dance, according to Calderon.
“During the performance,” Calderon said, “we will demonstrate the different cultural dance and native languages.”
About halfway through the performance, performers will explain the significance of the instruments they have brought with them, Calderon explained.
“We will be bringing pre-Hispanic instruments such as drums and flutes, also one string instrument that will really excite the audience,” Calderon said. “It is a beautiful stringed instrument that will make the audience flip.”
The program will be concluded with a dance significant to the culture, and then audience members will be encouraged to participate in a question and answer session, according to Calderon.
“We don’t like to finish the program and just say goodbye,” Calderon said. “It is not considered closed until the audience has had time to get their questions answered.”

–Molly Svendsen

The Broadside



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