The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

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February 27, 2014

Early winners

In group’s second semester, SHSU’s Ballet Folklorico finishes first at college and university dance competition

HUNTSVILLE — A relatively new dance troupe at Sam Houston State University finished first at the Bailes de mi Tierra Competition in Round Rock last weekend.

Sam Houston Ballet Folklorico won the College and University division in only its second semester in existence.

“It was especially difficult because all of the dancers, except for me and one girl, are all new,” said the organization’s founder Nayeli Lopez, a junior Spanish major.

“I had to teach them from the beginning and it was difficult because the competition was early in the semester. We only had a couple of practices to get set up.”

The five dancers who won are Joyce Ovalle, Tania Medina, Jessica Martinez, Leticia Castillo and Santiago Casas — all Sam Houston State students.

Ovalle said the practice was hard, but that it was important to represent Sam Houston well.

“We all had to accommodate our schedule in order to make practice. It was really all about time management,” she said. “We all wanted to win first place, so once practice started we knew it was time get serious.”

The Bearkats beat out schools like the University of Texas at Austin and El Paso Community College.

Folklorico is a cultural dance style from Mexico that can have influences from each region. This year Ballet Folklorico will focus on Colima and Veracruz styles, according to Lopez.

For more information on Sam Houston’s Ballet Folklorico dancers, visit their Facebook page at

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