Jamie Orellana of the International Folklorica Ballet Company hopes a studio fire won’t cancel their upcoming performance.

Jamie Orellana

Photo By Nick Higman

Jamie Orellana is the secretary for International Folklorica Ballet Company, which performs traditional dances of Mexico. While gearing up for its July 14 performance at Artown, the group’s dance studio in Sparks was victim to fire, damaging some of their elaborate costumes. The group is scrambling to let the show continue as planned. If you can help, call (775) 843-7242.

Tell me about the ballet c ompany.

We’ve been around since 1980 here in the Reno-Sparks area. We teach more of the Mexican traditional dances, regional to every area of Mexico. They’re the national dances. Each region has a different [style of dance]—the northern regions are closer to the American country-western, like square dancing. Toward the Gulf of Mexico is more Spanish-based, the music, the footwork. And toward the center and the south of Mexico, it is indigenous, with a base of the Indians that were there—the Mayan and the Aztecs.

And what just happened?

Yesterday [June 11], we got a call that the catering trucks that are parked behind our dance studio, one of them caught fire and engulfed the other truck that was parked next to it, and the smoke seeped into our dance studio, and our costume storage area—that’s where we have our shoes, our headpieces, everything we own.

And your costumes are pretty elaborate, right?

We have them special-made. We have them brought in from Mexico. That in itself is a task—the customs, the shipping—a lot of them have beadwork and sequins, and it makes them heavy.

The owner of the lunch trucks is also with your dance group?

Yes. She just had a baby, and it’s been terrible for her. The baby’s in ICU. She’s the vice president of International Folklorica Ballet and the owner of the lunch trucks. Her name is Veronica Gomez. The front was our dance studio. She was at the hospital visiting her baby in ICU when they got the call that [the trucks were] burning. So it’s been terrible for her. I don’t even want to imagine what she’s going through.

So what are your biggest concerns?

Our biggest concern is the family [including IFBC vice president Veronica Gomez] because that’s their livelihood—the two lunch trucks—luncheras—it’s a catering business they have. Logically, everything is saying “cancel our performance"— because it’s an hour show. We’re starting off with the history of dance in Mexico—the Aztecs and when we were conquered by the Spanish and how that influenced us and ending up with Baja California. So logically, we should cancel, but we don’t want to. We refuse. Because I think it’s something beautiful that we were invited to share our culture.

What needs to be done for that to happen?

We need a place to practice that would have a floor, like a wood floor that they really wouldn’t mind getting scuffed up because the bottoms of our shoes have the heads of a nail. That’s what makes the unique sound—it’s called zapateado— the act of making the noise is called a zapateado.

What age ranges span the group?

The youngest dancer is 2, and my daughter is the oldest, and she’s 21.

If the costumes are cleaned, can you go on with the performance?

I’m hoping the cleaners will be able to get the smell out. Unfortunately, we can’t make the trip to Mexico to go get all the costumes. We’ll work with whatever we have. … Some kids have costumes at home. … We’re just kind of like in a fog. We know we want to do a car wash [for the Gomez family]. We’re kind of like in a cloud. We don’t know where to start, where to end, nothing. We’re all putting our heads together. And I still have to call Artown and tell them. But you know, the show must go on.