Ballet Folklorico Ollin : A Southern California Professional Dance Company
Ballet Folklorico Ollin is a non-profit cultural organization founded in 1972. It's primary goal is to preserve and interpret the diverse cultural beauty of México re-created here in California. Through music, dance, and folk traditions,Ballet Folklorico Ollin continues their commitment to professionalism and community involvement. Ollin performs continuously throughout the calendar seasons.
The company has shared the stage with 2 Time Grammy Award Winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea for the historic celebrations of “Los Tres Reyes Magos” at Disneyland Amusement Park. The company continues to perform with legends that have included: Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, Mariachi Monumental de Juan Jose Almaguer, and of course Mariachi Tesoro de San Fernando. It has been a privilege to be featured with Linda Ronstadt, the late Lola Beltran lovingly hailed ‘ la reina de la musica ranchera ‘ (the queen of ranchera music), Ana Gabriel, Jose Feliciano, Daniela Romo, and Vicki Carr and recently Las Colibri, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles and Mariachi Angeles de Pepe Martinez to name a few.
Through the cooperation of the Orange County Philharmonic Society, the Ballet was honored to perform “Fiesta Navidad” with Grammy Award Winning Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano. For over 10 years of programming, Ollin captured the holiday spirit at the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts.
Extensive training in the performing arts inspired within Virginia a deep and lasting love of the theater. Instruction in all aspects of dance emphasized the discipline of ballet while drama and music courses enhanced her artistic development. This training provided the necessary background and foundation for her introduction into the professional touring company: Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Graciela Tapia. As Ms. Diediker performed Mexican folk dances throughout the United States, the spark was ignited to further her studies of Mexican history and to include the music, dance, and folk traditions of the various regions of Mexico. Expanding her knowledge, Ms. Diediker graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University Northridge in 1980 with a combined degree in History and Chicano Studies. Continuing her education, she received her Adult Education teaching credential from the University of California at Los Angeles in the designated subject areas of Gerontology, Parent Education, as well as Health and Safety.
Complementing her knowledge of theater arts and her experience as an educator, Virginia Diediker serves the City of San Fernando as Cultural Arts Supervisor. Together with Mr. Natividad Cano, the Founder and Director of Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Virginia was instrumental in creating the City of San Fernando Mariachi Master Apprentice Program (MMAP). MMAP brings together Grammy Award Winning music masters with community youth in an instructional experience that preserves the mariachi music genre. The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities has named MMAP a recipient of the 2012 Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the Nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts programs. Virginia is the Project Director for MMAP and works diligently to secure funding through State and Federal grants as well as donations for the program.
Community involvement plays an important role for Virginia. Ms. Diediker is the artistic director of Ballet Folklorico Ollin, a dance company recognized for excellence throughout the United States and Mexico. Her responsibilities involve complete artistic production, choreography, music coordination and costume design. Ollin is celebrating over 40 years of success as part of “Virginia’s Dream”.
Serving as a resource advisor, Ms. Diediker encourages the development of new folklorico dance groups throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District and California. As an instructor for Los Angeles Mission College during the early formative years, Virginia created a curriculum of instruction designed to develop an awareness of Mexico’s cultural diversity through music and dance with an emphasis on the art of performance. Continuously encouraging renewed interest in the folklore and traditions of Mexico, she conducts workshops and lectures in many colleges and universities throughout the western United States. Twenty-seven years of participation in the statewide Danzantes Unidos Festival and serving on the Danzantes Unidos Steering Committee demonstrates her commitment to preserving and sharing the Mexican folklore with others. In 1985, Virginia produced “Mexico through Music and Dance”, a live educational performance that targets youth and stimulates cultural pride and appreciation of Hispanic heritage. This program was adopted by the Intergroup Cultural Awareness Program (ICAP) for 20 years of successful programming throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District. Currently, Ollin has available a performance presentation that is an educational and cultural program.
In April of 2003, Virginia received the 5th Annual Cesar E. Chavez Award for her tireless commitment and continuous dedication to her community.
Francisco Javier Verdin was born in Jala, Nayarit. During these early years of development, Francisco was fortunate to experience the traditions and folklore of a small pueblo rich in culture and practicing folk arts. This early introduction to the music and dance of Nayarit laid the foundation for Mr. Verdin to pursue his professional training in the disciplines of theater, music and dance.
Francisco was inspired by the teaching of Mexico’s revered folkloristas and continued his training at the Colegio de Arte Dramatico under the direction of Leon Barroso, actor, dancer and comedian. Furthering his education in Mexican folk arts, Mr. Verdin attended summer courses in Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico and is certified as an instructor from CALMECAC. These courses are specifically designed to enhance teaching techniques for Mexican folkdance instructors.
Since 1983, Francisco Javier has taught Mexican Folkdance to students of all ages. Instruction consists of understanding the origins, historical influence and costuming of various regions of Mexico while providing the program participants an opportunity to perform. Mr. Verdin has served the acclaimed Ballet Folklorico Ollin for over 30 years. Los Angeles Unified School District has contracted Francisco as an instructor in Mexican Folkdance and program presenter in Mexican Folk Arts. In addition, Javier has worked continuously with Danzantes Unidos, Inc., as a Board and Committee member for 27 years. Danzantes Unidos brings together young dancers representing all areas of California and Mexico in an educational 3 day conference.
Mr. Verdin is an advisory member for the Club de Jala, Nayarit. This organization is dedicated to improving the lives and working conditions of the people living in Jala. The young people and senior citizens are specifically targeted to assist as community members underserved. Projects include: school supplies, handicap bathrooms installed, funding for special cultural events, and the construction of an inspirational plaza dedicated to all immigrants. The Plaza del Emigrante was dedicated by local government officials on August 13, 2008.
Presently, the City of San Fernando is honored to have the continuing support and dedication that Francisco Javier has unselfishly given to the Department of Recreation and Community Services. The involvement of Mr. Verdin with the Department extends to all levels of the community. He assists with many of the cultural and recreational events lending a hand in set construction, audio services, Master of Ceremonies, and bilingual translations. The 5-K Run, Community Pride Day, 4th of July, Cesar Chavez Commemoration Day, September 15th (Mexico’s Independence Day), Park Grand Openings, dedication of Historical Sites and City Mural Projects as well as the Summer Concert Series have all been assisted by Francisco. These many Civic, Cultural and Recreational events have been honored to have the bilingual capabilities that Mr. Verdin provides as Master of Ceremonies. Francisco Javier Verdin served 13 years on the City of San Fernando Cultural Arts Commission. March 31, 2014 completed 21 years that Javier has been a member of the Cesar E. Chavez Cultural Arts Festival Committee and Official Master of Ceremonies.
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