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March 30, 1998

Photo exhibit captures spirit of UCSC folklorico group

Jon Kersey's photos show Los Mejicas in transition from rehearsal to performance

By Francine Tyler

A student dance troupe performing folkloric dances representative of various regions in Mexico is the subject of an upcoming exhibit of photographs at UCSC.

The exhibit, "Los Mejicas: On Stage and Behind the Scenes," will be displayed at La Galeria de Casa Latina at Merrill College from April 6 through 29. The exhibit will feature 25 photographs taken by Jon Kersey, a UCSC staff member who has been documenting Grupo Folklórico Los Mejicas rehearsals and performances as a personal project (see a selection of photos from the exhibit).

A reception, with performances by the dance troupe, is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Kersey received the inspiration for his photography project after seeing Grupo Folklórico's annual concert last May. He was struck by the group's professionalism and enthusiasm and the camaraderie of its members.

"They go from being students in tennis shoes and jeans to being very professional-looking dancers," said Kersey, who is manager of the Media Lab for UCSC's Social Sciences Division. "This happens not only as they prepare for a performance but also over the quarter as they learn new dances. There are two transitions taking place."

Kersey started photographing the group for his project in October. He plans to continue taking photographs through the summer before mounting a final exhibition.

Students who dance with Grupo Folklórico come from a variety of majors at UCSC, including computer sciences, film and video, and anthropology. As troupe members, they may earn two course credits through Latin American and Latino studies at UCSC. The troupe has approximately 30 members this year.

Grupo Folklórico will present its annual spring concert this year on June 5 and 6 on the Performing Arts Mainstage. For more information, call (408) 459-2159.

La Galeria de Casa Latina is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (408) 459-3789.

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