By Sydney Williams
Taking their passion for dance into advocacy for the authentic representation of Mexican dance heritage, Arturo Magaña opens the door to a colorful display of self representation for their community. In their own performances and their influence through Academia Folclórico Colibrí, Arturo does their due diligence in perpetuating their own cultural pride here in the United States, encouraging others to do the same.
Here’s a peek into their life offstage:
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a native of the beautiful Jerez Zacatecas, Mexico and immigrated with my family to California in the late 80s. Since my childhood I have always been interested in nature and anything to do with the arts.
Tell us about your early years as an artist.
As a very curious kid, my parents provided me the opportunity to explore anything I wished, from sports to visual and performing arts. But at the early age of 10 yrs old. I chose to focus on dance and began my journey at the “Casa La Cultura ” of my hometown. The biggest challenge I have had to overcome as an artist is the ability to balance my day to day life (school, home, family, etc.). If I could, I would spend every day in the studio, dancing, working and creating.
What is the mission of Academia Folclorico Colibri and what are your aspirations for it?
In early 2020 I founded Academia Folclórico Colibrí which is an academic program of Folclórico Colibrí. The academy’s mission is to promote the pride of our Mexican heritage, costumes and traditions through the beauty of Mexican Folklorico Dance. The academy’s curriculum offers a cultural education with an inclusive and gender neutral approach, providing the students with a platform to learn, explore and validate their identity. In the academy we welcome students of all ages, cultures, genders and sexual orientations.
What’s your signature move on the dance floor?
Currently I have focused on “Faldeo” (skirt movement), and I must say, I have become very good at it, plus I truly enjoy it.
What style of dance do you have the most fun doing, even if you are not the best at it?
Aside of Mexican Folklore, I deeply enjoy Modern Dance and Bollywood
What’s something you wish you were better at?
An area I have always struggled with is time management
What’s your hidden talent?
I am a pretty good painter and public speaker
Top 3 songs on repeat.
1) Maybe this time (Liza Minelli)
2) This is my life (Shirley Bassey)
3) Del Olvido al No Me Acuerdo (by: Isabel Pantoja/Juan Gabriel)
Next place you’d like to travel to.
Spain & India
Something you wish more people knew about your culture.
Mexico is rich in culture, natural beauty and color, but most importantly the residents of small towns “pueblitos” have a heart of gold, they will offer you what they have without conditions.
Mexican food, specially anything made with tomatillo and grilled salsas
Bravest thing you ever did.
Launching myself as a self-sustaining artist has been the most difficult, scary but gratifying experience thus far.
A Message from Arturo:
Remain true to yourself and express your identity as your nature calls. Never take things too seriously, but be strict and respectful to your discipline. Humility, Gratitude and Kindness will lead you to accomplish anything your heart desires. We spend so much time doubting ourselves and trying to conform to others’ norms that at times we lose ourselves and the purity of our talent. Be YOU!