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Whimsical Dancers Take Center Stage

By Judith Aguilar and Tina Gomez
On December 14, 2012

  • Dancers. Photo by Judith Aguilar
  • Dancers. Photo by Judith Aguilar

Texas A&M international University's own Young Dancer program brought cheer to all who came out to support their Christmas performance at the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Theater on December 7th. Excerpts from Peter Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite were brought to life by the performers who ranged from ages 2 to 18.

The eager audience, who came from amongst our Laredo community, filled the theater in anticipation to see the young girls perform. Parents and family members were trying to find the best seats in the house to get a great view of the stage. Department Chair for the Fine and Performing Arts, Bede Leyendecker, introduced the "great group of dancers" that performed excerpts from The Nutcracker such as, The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, Le Tea (Chinese Dance) and Trepak (Russian Dance), to name a few. She also introduced a special and famous guest, Santa Claus, who was allowed to sit on stage in a large comfy chair.

Once the room settled down and the lights dimmed low, the performance began. The program opened with the Waltz of the Snowflakes performed by a group of agile ballerinas. The performance artists all gathered around and swayed their arms in elegance as individual performers were given a chance to show off their talent. The next movement, Le Tea, was performed by a group of dancers who were dressed in a fierce shade of red and filled the stage with a syncopated dance that lasted less than a few minutes. As the previous performance ended there was a slight delay as the as the youngest troupe could be heard preparing for their debut. The instructors were inventive when it came to those two year old dancers, when they used pink Teddy's bears to demonstrate the movements of Tchaikovsky's March.

As the program progressed, different performers in their original costumes shone bright as they captivated the audience and the guest of honor, Santa Claus.  As the last piece in The Nutcracker Suite was performed, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, the "fairies" demonstrated their ability to bring imagination to the eyes of the audience. Changing the tone of the program, and a little Laredo flavor, the young Ballet Folklorico dancers performed a piece titled La Adelita. The crowd was drawn into this performance as they clapped along to the beat and bellowed out "gritos" of joy.

To add to the variety that shows Laredo's varied influence in music and dance, the young dancers gathered for final dance performance of a Christmas themed hip hop medley. The enthusiastic dancers displayed their enjoyment of this dance style as each performer had exuberant energy.

The recital ended as all the performers were called to stage to bid the audience a Christmas farewell in a very fitting way. Once gathered, the tots and teens then began to belt out the Christmas favorite, "Feliz Navidad!". Before leaving the stage, the instructors, along with Santa, distributed stockings filled with goodies after they gave to the joyful man in red.

The young dancers will continue to practice their performance art through the spring as the Young Dancer Program continues to flourish on the Texas A&M International University campus. For further information concerning the Young Dancer and Ballet Folklorico Juvenil classes, those interested can contact Bede Leyendecker, at the Fine and Performing Arts department building in room 217B or by calling 956-326-2649.

(Judith Mae Aguilar and Tina Gomez may be reach at and

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