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‘I feel proud’: Ballet Arizona dancer who grew up listening to Juan Gabriel’s music now part of ballet honoring him

Alberto Aguilera Valadez, best known as Juan Gabriel, is one of Mexico's most beloved singers. A Ballet Arizona production is honoring his music.

PHOENIX — For the first time in the history of Ballet Arizona, the company will honor Mexican singer and songwriter, Juan Gabriel. 

Alberto Aguilera Valadez, best known as Juan Gabriel, Divo de Juárez or Juanga, is one of the most talented and beloved singers that Mexico has had. He died at the age of 66 in 2016, but his music keeps him alive around the world.

“I feel proud that the company is representing the Latino community this way," said Cuban dancer, Javier Corrales Ceballos.

Even though Corrales Ceballos is not Mexican, he was introduced to Juan Gabriel’s music at a young age.

“Growing up my dad and my grandpa used to get together on the weekends and celebrate playing dominos, which is a Cuban game. And they would always play his songs,” remembered Corrales Ceballos. 

EN ESPAÑOL: El Ballet Arizona rinde homenaje a Juan Gabriel

But not all the 28 dancers grew up with his music or heard of the Mexican singer before, like Corrales Ceballos.

He said that in the beginning, the Spanish speakers were trying to translate the lyrics to the rest of the dancers, but something interesting happened. 

“Many approached me and told me that they didn’t need to know the words of his songs because just with his voice and the music itself they could understand and they could feel the pain or the love or the feeling that he was communicating through the songs."

And talking about songs, one of them has a special meaning for Corrales Ceballos. 

“One of my favorite songs is Amor del Alma. Is one of the pieces that I’m dancing to, it always reminds me of my mom."  

Ballet Arizona has put on an amazing show based on one of Juan Gabriel’s presentations at Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Palacio de Bellas Artes is a prominent cultural center in Mexico and a jewel of the country. It’s known for hosting only the most recognized artists in the world.

“You can expect the beautiful music of Juan Gabriel. You can expect a lot of dancing, beautiful dancing a bunch of beautiful customs that were created by Carla Fernández”, Corrales Ceballos added.

Carla Fernández is a Mexican designer and “dedicated to preserving and revitalizing the textile legacy of indigenous and mestizo communities of Mexico. The brand’s vision in regards to manual methods proves that ethical fashion can be innovative, avant-garde and progressive”, according to her website.

Performances will be from May 5-8 at the Synforny Hall. For ticket information, visit Ballet Arizona's website

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