University of Texas of the Permian’s Basin Folklorico is combining its 15th anniversary with a young woman’s rite of passage Monday.

Odessa High School freshman Daisy Nevarez just turned 15. The Monday event at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center starts at 6 p.m. with art displays provided by the Hispanic Art Association of Odessa and the Permian High School foreign language department.

From 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the quinceañera reception kicks off and Nevarez will start the show for the ballet folklorico when she enters from the grand staircase and goes into the performing arts center.

Ballet Folklorico Director Robyn Hernandez-Flores said the event will combine the group’s 15 years of growth and Nevarez’ transition from a young girl to a young lady.

“We’ve used that as symbolism for us to represent all the changes that we’ve been through,” Hernandez-Flores said.

The group started as a student-run organization with five members to a fully functioning dance company that has the largest scholarship in the United States for ballet folklorico and 18 to 20 members.

Nevarez’ mother, Vanessa Martinez, danced with the ballet folklorico and is now a second grade teacher at Murry Fly Elementary School. Hernandez-Flores said the dancers girls would take turns taking care of Nevarez while her mother practiced.

“She’s been around us her whole life at every production and every show. Her mother was a graduate through our program and she is a teacher now. She was the perfect candidate,” Hernandez-Flores said.

The performance will feature dances from nine regions from different states in Mexico so people will be able to view different costumes and music, Hernandez-Flores said. Live mariachis also will be featured.

Having Nevarez as part of the production does Hernandez-Flores feel a big old.

“But you do feel a great sense of pride because she’s so connected to us. … We got to see her grow from this little bitty baby that sat in the back of our practices to this young lady that we have before us that gets to participate in this show with us. We’re very proud of her and all the things that she’s accomplished. We hope that she attends UPTB and continues her mother’s legacy and dances us, which as far as we know that’s kind of the plan,” Hernandez-Flores said.

Aidely Aranda, 20, is in her first year with the team. She said they are kind of like family and it’s nice to have a different group of friends to hang out with.

“I think it’s going to be really pretty. I’m also nervous about it because it’s the first time I’ve performed in a long time,” Aranda said.

For 18-year-old freshman Ashley Garcia, it will be her first show with UTPB.

Ashley Garcia, 18, freshman multidisciplinary studies

“I’m kind of nervous for it, but I’m really excited to dance with my teammates. I really love it. I enjoy it. Everybody welcomed me. Everybody was really nice to me here,” Garcia said.

Twenty-three-year-old senior Krisandra Skeens has been with ballet folklorico at UTPB for six years. This will be her last show.

Skeens said she has been dancing since age 4 and also teaches it.

“I’m hoping it runs smooth. I hope everyone enjoys it. We have a lot of new stuff that we have never done before, so we’re excited to show that. … This is my last show since I’m so close to graduating.

For her part, Nevarez said having the group dance to mark her quinceañera is “really cool.”

She, too, is nervous and excited at the same time.

“I have to be up on the stage in front of a whole bunch of people,” Nevarez said.

If You Go
  • What: UTPB Folklorico presents Mis Quince Años.
  • When: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday.
  • Where: Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center, 1310 N. Farm to Market Road 1788.

Free admission.