BY WARREN HORTON
FEATURES EDITOR AND PRODUCTION MANAGER
The dance group, Sabor a mi Tierra, performs on-campus and off, yet few people know who they are. Sabor a mi Tierrra is a COD vocational club that has members with “passion and commitment”, according to Marisol Reyes, adviser, choreographer, and dancer with the club.
In the Spring of 2005, five COD students came together to learn some cultural dances from Mexico for a Cinco de Mayo event. Their main goal was to celebrate the courage of the men that fought against the French Army. They also wanted to promote the Mexican culture by encouraging other college students to join. The idea was supported by Juan Lujan, then dean of the Eastern Valley campus in Indio. Reyes was called to help out with the choreography and teaching of the dances. The group was moved to the main campus in Palm Desert to recruit more students.
And so it started, with one dance. With Reyes’ experience of dancing since high school, she was able to pass on her knowledge and continues to do so. The club performs dances that represent seven states of Mexico. Ultimately, dances from all 13 states will be represented in their routines. In 2008, Sabor a mi Tierra won the “Club of the Year” award at COD.
Two traditional dances are pictured here. The young girls in red are about to perform a dance from the State of Michoacan, which is customarily performed during Dia de los Muertos. The women and men dressed in white and purple are performing a dance from the State of Aguas Calientes.
The club has a mission, according to Reyes, “to promote the Mexican culture, encourage our club members to complete their education and teach new students the history and the steps of the dances. As a club, we teach the next generation the importance of our culture and history when we teach them the dances”
The club itself is a bona-fide vocational club within the scope and support of COD. As such, they must abide by the rules set forth by COD, and maintain at least six members that are students at COD. Presently, there are 32 members in Sabor a mi Tierra, and two advisers.
The group does more than just dance at COD. The group is called upon to entertain at hospitals, museums, hotels, parades, the National Date Festival, the Tamale Festival, nursing homes and more. Depending on the location where they are performing, the routines can be up to one hour long. Due to club regulations, they dance for free. However, donations can be given to the club to help offset expenses like attending the National Association of Folkloric Groups being held for one week in June, 2016. It will cost each member approximately $250 plus lodging, meals and transportation. According to Reyes, “It’s expensive, but well worth it.”
Marisol Reyes contributed to this story.