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Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán Marks 25 Years of Dance

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 11, 2013 – The Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán, one of the longest-standing traditions at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, will mark its 25th anniversary in February. 

Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán 
The Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán celebrate 25 years of folk dance on February 27. 

The Mexican folk dance group will commemorate the occasion with a three-day long celebration culminating in a special performance starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 at The Arts Center.



25 Years of Mexican Folk Dance

Dr. Zelma Mata, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Health and Human Services, remembers fondly the circumstances that lead to the creation of the group in spring 1988. 

“It started with a group of students approaching me about why not having [a dance group] here,” said Mata. “I was very motivated by the students’ interest to go ahead and start one.”


Mata recalled the group had very little resources for costumes or back-drops during the first few years. Often, they had to make do with what they could find or borrow from the community. Since then, the group has grown through the support of the university, the community and their own fundraising efforts.   

“We remember the times we didn’t have any costumes,” said Mata. “We remember the times we used to borrow them. Now we have costumes. We used to make backdrops, kept them here in the gym, and now we have a beautiful fine Arts Center. It’s really great to see it evolve to where it is today, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.”


Alumnus and dancer Daniel Garcia was one of the original members of group. He continues to perform with the group and has seen and been a part of the changes the group has gone through since it started. 

“When we first started, I never thought it would grow so big,” said Garcia. “Dr. Mata has been a fine leader for this organization, and to see it now at its level of dance and its prestige, I’m very proud of it.”


As the members of the Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán prepare to embark on their 25th year, Mata said their mission of education about Mexico’s traditions and folk dances has not changed. They hope to continue spreading awareness about Mexican dance’s customs in the years to come while treasuring the 25 years they have had so far. 

“It’s been an incredible journey,” said Mata. “I have 25 years of students that have been part of my life since they joined the group, keeping in contact, and every time I run into student alumni, they want to come back. They had such a great time, and I think that’s very important.”


Anniversary Festivities 

Dr. Zelma Mata 
Dr. Zelma Mata has been the director for the Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán since it began 25 years ago. 

As a way to show how far the group has come in the last quarter century, the Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán will invite back former members to celebrate with them during the three days.


The anniversary festivities begin with an alumni social at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25 in the Gran Salón of the Student Union. Former Grupo Folklórico members from the past 25 years will sit down and share coffee, aguas frescas and pan dulce, or pastries and refreshments. This all leads to the creation of a comprehensive database for former members of the dance company. 

The second night of festivities will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26 at a special folklórico mass at Sacred Heart Church on 602 E. Elizabeth St. in downtown Brownsville. Singer Blanca Olvera will perform traditional songs, and Father Armand Mathew, OMI, will preside over the mass.


The special performance at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 at The Arts Center will conclude the anniversary celebration. Current and past Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán dancers will share the stage, dancing the traditional folk dances of the different regions of Mexico. Tickets to the show will be available for purchase at the Department of Health and Human Performance Office, from student dancers or from the box office at The Arts Center.  

Fundraising Efforts


"Por Amor al Folklor" photography by Daniela Martinez 
"Por Amor al Folklor" by Photographer Daniela Martinez

As part of their fundraising efforts in advance of the anniversary performance, the Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán has crafted a calendar that they will begin selling this week. The theme of the calendar is “Por Amor al Folklor;”roughly, “For the Love of Folklore.”  


“The calendar starts with the month of February in commemoration of Charro Days and runs until February 2014,” said Mata. “This is our second annual calendar; last year we sold 150 copies, and this year we are ordering 200 copies.”


Each month of the calendar features photos taken by Daniela Martinez, a student dancer in the group, of the dancers wearing regional costumes from Mexico. The calendars will cost $10 and go toward paying for new performance costumes and accessories.


“Funds generated through sales will be used to pay for costumes and accessories needed to support the ‘grupo’ in celebration of its 25th anniversary,” said Mata. 

The calendar may be purchased at the Department of Health and Human Performance Office or through a student dancer.


For more information about the 25th anniversary festivities or calendar fundraiser, contact Zelma Mata at 956-882-8291 or

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