Mayor Stanley F. Leach

Quad City Ballet Folklorico

The Quad City Ballet Folklorico was founded in September, 1984, under the direction of Mr. Amulfo Camarillo, a resident of Moline, Illinois, who contributes countless volunteer hours to children. The QCBF is a non-profit organization that dances traditional dances from Mexico. It is open to any child regardless of race, heritage or ethnic background. Currently we consists of forty-five members, ages six years through high school. Regardless of the size of the community, it carries the same problems and concerns which face larger cities.

QCBF takes young Hispanics at risk and provides a strong pride in their culture through discipline of dance. This provides the children a safe and structural environment to express themselves, which hasn't been available. The children show the Quad Cities' community that when children are given an alternative, the "Arts" is a good choice. Unfortunately, this positive side of the picture is rarely exposed in the media. Often we only see the bad press of our Hispanic youth. QCBF knows there are more positive things children are capable of, and this program develops these aspects.

The QCBF has served as an instrument to preserve and promote pride in Mexican culture. It is important to recognize the determination, energy and effort the dancers put forth which help to create a better image of Hispanics.

Mr. Camarillo and the parents' group have been able to show structure and consistency in their message by adhering to strict rules. There is a zero tolerance rule involving gangs and drugs. On several occasions QCBF has invited Moline Police Officers to speak. The parents' group helps with transportation, meals, costumes and supervision. Unfortunately, for many of our dancers this is the only type of supervision and discipline they have. Without discipline, higher education is harder to obtain.

The majority of the dancers have graduated from high school and eighty percent have pursued higher forms of education. Due to the high dropout rate, they need to realize the importance of education, responsibility, productivity, values, relationships, diversity, leadership and support of themselves in their community.

Past members have graduated from colleges including: The University of Iowa, IA, Augustana College, IL, Mankato State University, MN and Western Illinois University, IL. Former dancers are presently working in the field of teaching, social service, business law and business accounting.

The dancers have performed at numerous locations throughout the area and surrounding states. These performances enable youths at risk the opportunity to participate in an environment that is safe and exposes them to positive outcomes. QCBF has performed at colleges such as the University of Iowa, IA; Mankato State University, MN; Depauw University, IN; St. Ambrose University, Davenport IA; Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, Teikyo University, Davenport, IA; Knox College, Galesburg, IL, and numerous others. They have toured many colleges, which helps to plan for their future. For many of our dancers, this is their vacation. Many members do not leave their neighborhoods except for their exposure with QCBF. One mission of QCBF is to instill goals for higher education and express with this that anything is possible.

Dancers practice twice a week for two hours at each practice. Many weekends are spent traveling to various locations for performances. QCBF has presented a two-hour performance at our annual Moline Mexican Fiesta. It's held annually at Moline High School, and is supported by the Moline High School Board and community. The very first Moline Fiesta was made possible by the enthusiasm and support of the dancers and two parents taking out personal loans for $1000 and $1500, respectively, for costumes and pamphlets.

QCBF donates time to community services, including: churches, schools, nursing homes, day care centers, festivals, and personal family engagements. Annually the QCBF performs for local events such as The Quad City Arts, The Festival of Trees, Quad City Viva Fiesta, Bix Festival, Life at Night, and annual Church services in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Also the Mexican American Organization, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and VFW.

As an incentive, a yearly trip or party is held in appreciation for all of their hard work and dedication. The QCBF dancers and family have traveled on supervised trips to Great America, the Chicago Theater to see the prestigious Ballet Folklorico de Amelia Hernandez from Mexico, swimming parties, Christmas and Halloween parties, bowling and summer parties.

Mexico has 31 states and the Federal District each having its own music and costume. The ballet performs: Jalisco, Nayarite, Chiapas, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Veracruz. Guerrero, Sinaloa. Yucatan. Michoacan, and the Mexican Revolution. This requires forty-five different costumes per state. An example: the state of Jalisco, the Jalisco dress consists of 18 to 20 yards of material and 80 yards of ribbon. One charro suit per boy is $150.00. Costumes are made as original as possible with the talents of a couple of mothers from our parents' group. One person cannot sew them all and outside services are required; this is costly. Many families do not have the resources and it is a hardship for them. QCBF provides for those that are unable with limited money.

Yearly QCBF brings a professional teacher from Mexico for a 2 to 3 week program. Authenticity and traditionalism is important but costly. Each dancer participates in this program. Practices are held everyday except Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This summer program helps to strengthen character and self-esteem.

Dancers are recognized and honored at an annual award presentation. Dancers who have made a two-year commitment with the group are given a two-year plaque. Dancers who have maintained a strong commitment to QCBF for seven years are recognized with a special seven year plaque which must earned by attending ninety percent of practices, performances and being a positive role model for the group.

Financial assistance is desperately needed to reach more youth at risk and open more doors of opportunity. Thank you for this opportunity to introduce to you the Quad City Ballet Folklorico.


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