An important group has formed in the city of Omaha that combines the culture and tradition to present a musical and visual show with a dash of unmistakable mystical elements: Raices de Mexico.
The idea started to take shape back in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2009 that it was officially presented, but it was divided into two groups with different names.
They called themselves Los Copetones and Las Guadalupanas, with Jorge Zepeda and Gloria Quiñones as its Founding Presidents, who managed to establish in the city a tradition they learned in their natal Grullo, Jalisco, México.
And from that moment on, they have not stopped dancing, wearing a colorful hand-crafted wardrobe. Even though only six of the founding dancers remain with the organization, 50 families are enrolled.
We must highlight that since Prehispanic times, dance is seen as an offering that allowed people to be closer to God. This spirituality is present thanks to the Virgen de Guadalupe because one can’t talk about Mexican dance without mentioning the “Morenita del Tepeyac,” who has been the driving force behind the preservation of this cultural expression which is today cataloged in museums and history books as a 100% religious act.
In fact, it was the Our Lady of Guadalupe-St Agnes Parish that provided support for the emerging Los Copetones and Las Guadalupanas, to highlight the parish’s festivities.
The groups started to grow in popularity, which led to them being invited to perform by many private as well as government agencies. The public’s demand to see new choreographies made them diversify their catalog.
These changes motivated both groups to merge into a single one, which they named Raices de Mexico, with the Zepeda family in the President’s chair, Juan Hernandez as Vice President, Elizabeth Martinez as Secretary, and Cabriola Chavez as Treasurer. It also has a committee with members from many organizations that help to coordinate the many groups.
Each family that is part of this group pays a $20 fee, and each member is responsible for its wardrobe.
Every year they perform at twelve local events and six outside of the city. Their rehearsal space continues to be the gym of the Our Lady of Guadalupe-St Agnes Parish.
What must be applauded is the group’s perseverance and evolution, which has allowed many of the families to join them as a way to entertain themselves, workout, learn more about the culture, making some of them feel a bit of nostalgia for their homeland.
It has, without a doubt, been a long and heavy road, and it has been thanks to the organization’s leadership.
“It’s a lot of work that requires a lot of sacrifices, devotion, and determination from everyone,” said Zepeda.
However, even though everyone recognizes his exceptional leadership for the project, he has said that next year, they will look for a new President.
“We are reviewing who could be the right person for the job. We’ll look for someone with fresh ideas that can allow the group to continue growing even more.”
For the Zepeda family, all the years invested in Raices de Mexico have been very fulfilling. “We are promoting our own culture and roots, and we’re also instilling values in kids and young individuals, to make sure they don’t stray from the good path. We can also be taken into consideration as an option for keeping kids off the streets because we work hard under a philosophy that instills human and Christian values.”
They celebrated their 11th anniversary on July 13 with an event that allowed everyone to remember their trajectory. An award was presented to the founding dancers and to those that have been with the group for more than five years.
Raices de Mexico is an excellent example of what can be done in the name of the love of Mexico, making sure that it’s cultural, historical, and folkloric richness, promoting a better identity for new generations.