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Preservation Through Performance: Fall 2019 Special Collections Exhibit

October 12, 2019

Black and white photo of male dancer in foreground and female dancers in background. Male dancer is shirtless and holding two crossed sabers above his head.

Preservation through Performance: Sharing Mexican Folklore through the Arts
September 3 – December 20, 2019
Open regular library hours
North Lobby, The Claremont Colleges Library

The Claremont Colleges Library announces the opening of its fall exhibit, Preservation through Performance: Sharing Mexican Folklore through the Arts. Primarily focused on two local performing groups, the Ballet Folklórico Mexicapan and the Mexican Players of Padua Hills Theatre, the exhibit tells their histories and how they preserved and shared Mexican folklore in Southern California through song, dance, music, and theater.

Prominently featured in the exhibit are items from the new Ballet Folklórico Mexicapan Papers. The collection covers much of the history and performances of the Ballet Folklórico Mexicapan Company, led by Benjamin Hernandez and Patricia Barrigan, and includes event flyers and programs, photographs, choreography notes, music, performance recordings, costumes, and more. Based on years of research in Mexico, the company aimed to preserve and display the rich traditions of Mexican folklore through dance.

Another centerpiece in the exhibit is the Padua Hills Theatre Collection. This collection features materials relating to the Mexican Players, a group of Mexican and Mexican-American youth who worked as servers, musicians, singers, and dancers at the Padua Hills Theatre from 1931 to 1974. The 300-seat theater facility in the foothills above Claremont hosted productions featuring the Mexican Players set in a romanticized, pastoral past in Mexico and Mexican California. Collections materials include printed matter, news clippings, photographs, postcards, original Milford Zornes artwork, as well as playbills and advertisement fliers for productions.

Visitors can also find a variety of other Mexican folklore materials on display.

For more information, please contact (909) 607-3987 or

Visit the Special Collections website to explore more!