KANSAS CITY, Mo. - If you want to step up your workout, you should definitely try Mexican Folk Dancing. My instructors were two of the best from Grupo Folklorico Atotonilco at the Guadalupe Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Jean Paul Chaurand is an instructor with Atotonilco. He agreed to help me learn the traditional dance. His mother, Maria Chaurand, started the Mexican Folk Dancing group in 1979.
A top dancer with the group, Jennifer Fode, was also there to help me. Her mother and grandmother were both folk dancers, and she's following in their footsteps.
The group has weekly classes for all ages at the Guadalupe Center. Chaurand explained that the music and the dances are unique to different parts of Mexico.
"Most of our students are children, teenagers and young people," he explained. "So, we teach them the steps along with the tradition and history so they learn about their culture and have fun doing it."
Learning the moves comes naturally for Jennifer.
"The dances are beautiful, and I love the colorful costumes," she said. "But most of all, when I'm dancing, I'm showing people that I am proud of my culture."
I had a few missteps while learning some basic moves, but I slowly caught on. Once the music started and I started dancing non-stop, I found it to be an aerobic exercise that's a lot of fun. I would definitely recommend it.
Atotonilco has performed at various civic and community events as well as for corporations international competitions.