Imagine seeing out of the corner of your eye a large steel blade, shimmering in the rays of the setting sun, sailing directly at you. For most people this might mean an untimely demise, but for some it’s just practice.
Leo Rebolledo has been practicing throwing and passing Macheta knives to get ready to send them flying through the air in front of and, he hopes, to their intended targets and not into the seating at Campbell Hall this Sunday. Rebolledo, a senior and co-chair of Raices de mi Tierra, is scheduled to perform in “Sabor de mi Tierra,” which translates to “flavor of my country.” The Machetas are traditional in the Mexican regions of Michoacan, Sinaloa and Nayarit.
The 4 p.m. show will mark the start of Chicano Latino Cultural Week. Now in its 13th year, the Cinco de Mayo performance features elaborate costumes, merengue and salsa music and dances from eight regions of Mexico and Latin America.
In previous years, the group was too small to stage a full show and used guest performers to fill the space in between acts to provide time for rest and costume changes. With 26 members, this year’s group is large enough to put on an entire show for the first time.
Diana Reveles, the show’s director, expressed her excitement over the group’s progress.
“This year’s performance will be put on exclusively by our members, and that signifies our growth,” Reveles said. “Our group is growing both as a team and a collaborative family of close friends.”
Raices de mi Tierra planned the performance over summer and started preparing when the school year began. The performers have been rehearsing four to five hours a day on weekdays, and 12 hours a day on weekends in the weeks leading up to the show.
“We have put in long hours of hard work and dedication to make this year’s show really great,” Rebolledo said.
The group raised the $7,000 overall cost of the show by staging smaller performances across the state. Rebolledo’s performance will feature new costumes that cost $3,500. A performance by the group’s outreach program, Semillas de mi Tierra, will include children from the local community.
“As a cultural experience, our performance is talented, artistic and unique,” Reveles said. “It should make for an experience that is unforgettable and exciting.”
While the show is aimed at the Latino community, Rebolledo encouraged everyone to come enjoy the show.
“Its message is to be open-minded, and not judge others by the way they look – live in harmony.”