Oaxacan tradition comes to Austin

The "Flor de Pina" is one of the many highlights of the Guelaguetza, an annual harvest festival in Oaxaca, Mexico. Los Angeles Times photo by Gary Friedman.

The “Flor de Pina” is one of the many highlights of the Guelaguetza, an annual harvest festival in Oaxaca, Mexico. Los Angeles Times photo by Gary Friedman.

The first time I traveled to Oaxaca City about 10 years ago, I ended up folk dancing on a festival stage after the performers invited me and other audience members to join them. It was my introduction to Guelaguetza, a celebration and cultural exchange that honors the diversity of traditions within the various regions of the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

For the first time, Austin will have its own Guelaguetza festival presented by the local Mexican folkloric dance company, Oaxaca Arte en Movimiento (Oaxaca Art in Motion), as well as other community partners. The series of events throughout July includes a free textile exhibit and conference at 2 p.m. July 15 at the Benson Latin American Collection.

On July 16, maybe you’ll get your chance to dance on stage at the Guelaguetza Oaxaqueña event featuring folkloric dances from eight distinct regions of Oaxaca state. Check out the free event at 7 p.m. at the hillside amphitheater of the A.B. Cantu/Pan American Recreation Center.