Erik Noel Diaz
Maestro, Advanced Dancers
Maestro, Infantil Dancers
Maestra, Infantil Dancers
Maestro, Performing Advanced Dancers
Erik Noel Diaz
Erik Noel Diaz was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, where his love for Mexican folklore began as a child. He began training in Mexican folk dance at an early age with a local group, Ballet Folklórico de Zacatecas. Following, he trained with the prestigious Folklorico dance groups Compañía Estatal de Danza Folclórica Zacatecas (under the direction of Maestro Cesar Lara) and Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México Aztlán (under the direction of Silvia Lozano) in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Erik feels this training opened his eyes towards diversity, and the learning of techniques in Folklórico and other dance forms.
Erik moved to California and began his field as an instructor and choreographed for companies and local groups, which include Ballet Folklórico Anáuac, Modesto; Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento, Sacramento; Ballet Folklórico Netzahualcoyotl, San Rafael; Ballet Folklorico Las
Estrellas, Hayward; and Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company, Los Angeles. In 2011, he visited Mexico and choreographed pieces for Ballet Folklórico Nawezari and El Estado de Zacatecas, and was honored to serve as a judge for the Colegio de Bachilleres contest in Mexico.
He has had the honor of training with top directors and choreographers, such as Jose Vences, Director of Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company; Zenón Barrón, Director of Instituto Mazatlán de Bellas Artes and Ensambles Ballet Folkórico de San Francisco; César Lara Bañuelos, Director of Compañía Estatal de Danza Folclórica Zacatecas; César Alejandro Orta, Director of Ballet Folklórico Nawezari, Chihuahua, Mexico.
He choreographed dance pieces in 2011 and 2013 for one of the most prestigious festivals in the U.S.-- the San Fransisco Ethnic Dance Festival-- taking the dance troupes onto the stages of San Francisco. He has attended many Danzantes Unidos Festivals, both as a student and as an instructor. In 2014, he began instructing for Danzantes del Alma, UC Davis. In 2015, he began instructing Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro and choreographed and directed the piece "Una Noche en Chihuahua," which bestowed Nube de Oro with an invitation to perform at the Palace of Fine Arts for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival in June 2016. Erik accepted to become the Artistic Director of Ballet Folklorico Nube de Oro in 2017.
His passion for and background in Folkórico has earned him recognition and an appreciation by those with whom he works.
Maestro Infantil Dancers
Robert Lopez began dancing at age five in Grupo Mizoc de Sacramento, under the direction of Maria Luisa Colmenarez and her brother, Luis Colmenarez. The techniques he learned established the posture and footwork, in conjunction with one another, that would stay with him from then on. He learned the history of the people within the varying regions and the affects of their history on the stylistic differences between the regions of Mexico. From this young age, he found that although dance in general was his favorite pass time—break dancing, cumbias, classic norteño music—folklórico was what held his attention.
Being in Mizoc for 10 years, Robert then joined Ballet Folklorico de Sacramento (BFS), under the direction of Mrs. Angelbertha Cobb and Mr. Ralph Baez, and taught by Eddie Cobb. In BFS he was challenged—the expectations were greater, given the number of dancers available in the group. Along with learning style, music, and history, he learned the definition of “group,” which ensured that no one dancer was to be set aside. All dancers worked together to teach new students, which gave him his first taste at instruction.
In 1995, when Ballet Folklórico Nube de Oro was created, Robert was asked to accept the position of Assistant Director, under the artistic direction of Georgette Hernández. He choreographed many dance pieces, always keeping true to the steps of his maestros. He joined Danzantes del Alma de UC Davis after an invitation by Monica Zuniga and performed with Danzantes del Alma. He has kept to heart her ideal, “It’s not ours to keep within us, it is there for us to show what Mexico has to offer.” Robert was also invited to dance with Instituto Mazatlán de Bellas Artes, under the direction of Steven Valencia, where he learned their repertoire and other regions.
With 25 years of experience, Robert has returned to Nube de Oro to teach the fundamentals and to give our newest young dancers the opportunity to perform and exceed their expectations as dancers. He sees great talent in the new generation and the hunger to learn and to perform. He returned with a slogan to energize his students: We will “N”ever give up, We are “U”nique, We are “B”eautiful, We are “E”nergetic, We are all “D”ancers, We are “E”xcited, We are “O”riginal, We are “R”espectful, and We shall “O"vercome. We are Nube De Oro!
Robert thanks the Nube family for giving him the opportunity to return to teach its new generation of dancers.
Maestra, Infantil Dancers
Briana began dancing at age 6 with El Ballet Folklórico Tepatitlán led by Monica Zuniga. During her 10 years with Monica, she attended workshops and learned varying styles, techniques, and the history of various dances.
When she moved to Sacramento, to attend college, she danced with Raices de Mi Tierra, and later with Grupo Folklórico los Alteños.
Aside from teaching Nube, Briana also teaches folklórico at a Sacramento elementary school. Her two most favorite regions are Chiapas and Sinaloa.
Briana is very excited to have the opportunity to share this art with our newest Nube generation!
Maestro, Performing Advanced Dancers
Since the age of ten, Jacob Fernández’s biggest passion has been dancing Folclor Mexicano. He feels that dancing and learning about the different dances from México has helped him grow as a person, dancer, and artist. His first exposure to folklórico began at Waggoner Elementary School in Winters, CA, where he danced for two years in the group “Los Danzantes de Waggoner,” under the direction of Nancy Sommers and Eleanor Garcia. After graduating high school, he was accepted into the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), where in 2012 he received his Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, with a double minor in Education and Native American Studies. During his undergraduate career, he joined the UC Davis Folklorico group, “Danzantes del Alma de UC Davis,” under the direction of Aimé Quintero and Roxana Reyes. It was during those four years of dancing in Danzantes del Alma where he realized that folklórico was more than just a hobby, it was a way of life. After graduating from UC Davis, he joined Ballet Folklorico de Sacramento (formerly known as Instituto Mazatlán Bellas Artes (IMBA)) and danced for four years under the direction of Steven Valencia and David Lopez Mancilla (2012), Zenón Barrón (2013 to 2015), and Juan Luis Torres (2016).
Dancing has provided him with opportunities to study, perform, and travel in California and abroad. He has had the opportunity to attend folklórico conferences, such as Danzantes Unidos Festival; ANGF (Asociación Nacional de Grupos Folklóricos) in Albuquerque, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas; and ACADEZ (Academia de la Danza Amalia Hernandez) in Texas. Some of the artists with whom he has collaborated and been taught by include local and state known maestros, such as Emilio Ruiz, Erik Noel Diaz, Marco A. Sanchez, Osvaldo Ramirez-Vidales, Osvaldo Delgado, and Maria Luisa Colmenarez. On an international level, he has had the opportunity to learn from masters of folklórico, such as Viviana Basanta and Carlos Antúnez from the Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández; César Alejandro Orta from Chihuhaua, MX; Orquidea Figueroa and Juan Carranza Soriano of Guerrero, MX; Roberto Martinez from the Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad de Guanajuato; Leobardo Luna Ramirez from Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, MX; and Jaime Guerrero Hernández of Monterrey, MX, just to name a few. He has performed at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis with IMBA, auditioned for the 2013 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival with Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento, and performed for four consecutive years at the California State Capitol for Mexican Independence Day. In 2013, he traveled to Pueblo, Colorado, to perform with Mexican Polka masters and champions, Ballet Folklórico Nawézari from Chihuahua, MX, for the 1st Rocky Mountain Mexican Folkloric Dance Competition. Jacob has also taught and collaborated with Grupo Folklórico Los Mejicas from University of California, Santa Cruz; Grupo de Danza Patria Insurgente from Yuba City; and Ensambles Ballet Folklorico de San Francisco.
As an instructor with Nube de Oro, Jacob would like to create a bridge between Nube de Oro and local groups to provide the dancers with opportunities to study, perform, and travel abroad, just as he has in his dancing career. He feels that nurturing talents and supporting the students in arts, dance, and choreography will encourage the young artists to discover hidden talents within. He notes that having the opportunity to be a part of Nube de Oro is a great way to give back and express the pride he has for his culture, his family, and his roots, that which has offered him the many opportunities to study, perform, and enrich his skills as a dancer, artist, and member of the folklórico community.
Jacob notes, “Teaching Folclor Mexicano has allowed me to work with people and develop a sense of community, strong work ethic, and build a professional relationship between students and myself. I want to create an atmosphere where dancers feel comfortable expressing their opinions and concerns and where they feel they have a second family away from home.”
Jacob’s strength of character, commitment in helping others, and organizational skills will be an invaluable asset to Nube de Oro.