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Contemporary Trends in Mexican
Folklorico Dance and Maria​chi


1: 6/26/2023 - 7/9/2023


Music & Dance​


This course provides collegiate level Ballet Folklorico and Mariachi Music training in an intensive interdisciplinary setting. Enroll as a dancer or a musician. Led by Kareli Montoya of Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles and Jimmy Cuéllar of Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar, certain classes will be offered jointly, while other classes will be specific to dance or mariachi. The two tracks will combine for performance. Course Coordinator Marian Liebowitz will provide insights into monetizing a performance career.

Who Should Take This Class

Students with either two years current experience in folklorico dance or mariachi, or dance or music majors in performance or education looking to expand into these styles.

Required Application Materials (please submit materials in a single document)

Video Audition: submit a link to one to three video samples of work relevant to the class.

Course Coordinator

Winner of the U.S. State Department/Kennedy Center 1997 Artistic Ambassador Competition, Marian Liebowitz’ interest in Latinx ensembles was sparked during twelve years of touring Latin America under these auspices. During a 35-year tenure at San Diego State University, she created some of the first music entrepreneurship courses at a U.S. university. In 2013, she founded Marian Liebowitz Artist Management whose roster includes Ballet Folkorico de Los Angeles and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar.

Guest Artists

Jimmy Cuellar

Jimmy “El Pollo” Cuéllar is a three-time Grammy Award nominated and three-time Grammy Award winning composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist. He began his mariachi career as a teenager alongside his father, Jaime Cuéllar, and was a founding member of Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar. Driven by the love of his craft, Cuéllar fine-tuned his violin, guitarron, vihuela, guitar and guitarra de golpe skills.

Gustavo Hernandez

Gustavo Hernández is a tenor and member of Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar. He has sung many leading roles including Carmen and La Traviata, as well as lead tenor in concert works such as The Messiah, The Mozart Requiem, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Cynthya Contreras-Castillo

Cynthya Contreras-Castillo has been dancing Mexican Folklorico for ten years and a part of Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles for eight years. She enjoys sharing traditions and culture with her students and finds it rewarding to be able to guide them into becoming the dancers they want to be.

Donal​d Henriques

Dr. Donald Henriques is professor of Ethnomusicology at Fresno State and is director of Mariachi Orgullo de Fresno State. He has authored a number of works on mariachi that have been published by Oxford University Press and has also presented at national and international music conferences.

Kareli Montoya

Kareli Montoya is known for her extensive work as choreographer for Disney Studios’ Coco. In 2017, she choreographed the magical closing performance for the Pixar presentations at the D23 Expo involving over 100 Folklorico dancers. In 2018, Montoya was assistant choreographer to Mandy Moore at the 90th Academy Awards, where she performed to the award-winning song “Remember Me.”

Dr. Victor M. Torres

Dr. Victor Torres is a full professor in the Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies at Fresno State and has directed its Los Danzantes de Aztlán (LDA) Mexican dance program for 25 years. Under his direction, LDA has earned top awards in binational (US-Mexico) and national competitions.