Once upon a time, a priest from Mexico serving in the United States taught the struggling kids in his parish to dance. The young people turned out to be such naturals that they eventually took the show on the road. Their traveling troupe will be in Wichita on Saturday to present “The Wonders of Mexico.”
It will be the third time that the troupe, based in Tulsa, will be in town, said Peter Salmeron. He’s a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, which is bringing the show to the Orpheum. A nine-member mariachi band from Dallas will perform with the singers and dancers from Tulsa, he said.
There will be two performances – one at 5 p.m. and another at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
The show rekindles memories for people who grew up in Mexico and introduces others to a variety of Mexican music, Salmeron said.
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The origins of the show rest with Jose Maria Briones, a man who lived in Mexico who once aspired to be a theater performer, Salmeron said. The man went on to become a priest instead, and he was sent to serve in a church in Tulsa. When, 10 years ago, he saw how some of the young people in the parish struggled in life, the priest decided to teach them how to dance, Salmeron said.
“Young fellows in their teens and early 20s started dancing,” Salmeron said. Ninety young men and women are in the company today.
“One of the purposes is to help youth to have a sense of purpose in the community,” Salmeron said. “And it helps the Hispanic people to go back to their roots. It reminds them of the music they heard when they were growing up.”
But 30 to 40 percent of the audience for the “Wonders of Mexico” are not Mexicans, Salmeron said.
“I think a lot of Anglo-Saxons are curious about Mexican music,” he said. And “Wonders of Mexico” gives them a good sampling, he said: It presents music and customs from several regions of the country.
If you go
Wonders of Mexico
What: Dances and songs of Mexico
When: 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway
How much: $20 in advance, $25 at the door
Tickets: Intrust Bank Arena box office, Select-a-Seat outlets, by calling 316-755-7328 or at www.selectaseat.com.