Annel Alvarez has been dancing Folklórico since she was five years old, but it wasn’t always the KCK native’s passion.
Folklórico is a traditional cultural dance in Mexico and Central America that honors local folk culture and heritage, employing some techniques from ballet such as pointed toes and precisely choreographed, exaggerated moves.
Alvarez stopped practicing Folklórico as a child, but at fifteen years old, after Alvarez’s mom promised her a new car, the self-identified tomboy joined a Folklórico group once again.
After an impromptu First Friday performance in April 2021 outside of Café Ollama in the Crossroads, the all-women group exploded in popularity. Grupo Folklórico Izcalli even performed during the Chiefs halftime show against the L.A. Chargers in September 2021, an unforgettable experience in which Alvarez says some of her fellow performers were “throwing up from excitement.”
Alvarez formed Grupo Folklórico Izcalli after battling postpartum depression after the birth of her son. The name means “a beautiful home among the trees,” and Alvarez says the dance group became a refuge from the chaos in her busy life as a new mom.
“During such a hard time in my life, it was the one thing that I held onto,” Alvarez says. “It was kind of a way to find myself again. It made me happy and made me feel like I was Annel Alvarez instead of just Adrián’s mom.”
Alvarez also dances for her grandmother, who was a huge supporter of her performances and who Alvarez lost around the time of the birth of her son. Alvarez says it goes beyond her immediate family though. “All of my dancers say the same—that they dance because they want to represent their ancestors and want to keep their culture alive, their roots alive.”
GO: Look for announcements about upcoming performances on their Instagram.
Coffee: My favorite coffee is from Café Ollama, and I get the abuelita Ine’s. Lesley is a huge supporter of us and it’s my favorite place.
Lunch: We usually go to La Fuente over on 95th and Metcalf. The birria tacos are so good. So that’s definitely our favorite place to go to as a family.
Drink: After lunch, we usually get boba. Our favorite place to go is Fat Bee. My favorite boba is the taro one with the coconut boba balls.
Dessert: I would call my friends at Carmona’s Chamoy. I usually get their pineapple mango agua fresca. And I love their watermelon chamoy gummies.
You can donate to Grupo Folklórico Izcalli’s Gofundme here.