Oregon Folklife Network

Maria de Jesús González Laguna

2012-2013 TAAP AWARDEE

Traditional skill/art/craft: Folklorico Mexican Dance

Ethnic Background: Hispanic

Apprentice: Blanca R. León

Contact Information

Address: 755 N.E. Circle Blvd. 318, Corvallis, OR 97330

County: Benton

Phone: 541-207-6161 (day and evening)

E-mail: marychuy@yahoo.com

Describe your traditional skill/craft/art, when and why it is done, and your history with it.

It is a Mexican traditional dance that is related through corporal expression, technique, style of dress, and use of accessories. It expresses history, geography, and origin. The choreography and scenography is representative of each state. I have been exposed to this art since I was a little girl. Through my experience teaching traditional dance, I have learned that the same techniques can be used to learn similar types of dance.

I went to dance school for 13 years. I learned from my teachers and also by watching professional dancers. I traveled from state to state and I learned from older people that had experience with traditional dance culture, all related with Mexican traditional folklore.

How, when, why did you come to Oregon?

I came to the U.S. February 14th 1993 because my husband was living in Oregon.

Why is this cultural tradition important to your community?

In my community, children and parents of Mexican descent born in the U.S. learn traditional Mexican folklore. This activity keeps the whole family busy participating in practices and presentations, making clothes, traveling from one place to another. They share what they learn with people who are deprived of the chance of freedom; who live in asylum, in prison. We work together with other organizations on events that offer community assistance, festivals or cultural diversity, and invite people from other countries or races to participate and get to know this art form.

Artist Biography

Birthplace: Celayo, Guanajato, Mexico

Birthdate: June 4, 1979

My name is María de Jesús González Laguna. I was the last of nine sisters. My grandmother, my mother’s mother, is of spanish descent and my grandfather has indigenous roots.I was raised in two different environments. In the small village where my grandmother lived, they didn’t have electricity, water, stores, a clinic or schools. They walked several miles to be able to stock up on water from the river, they planted their fruits and vegetables, they raised their own animals, and the older women called curanderas (healers) took care of the sick. They didn’t have modern furniture so they used clay and stone to make chairs, pots, plates. When my mother got married, she moved to the city of Celaya, Guanajuato. In Celaya, we had everything we needed.The most important thing I discovered in the city was a cultural center. At the age of nine, I began to learn about Traditional Mexican Folklore. When I turned fifteen, my teachers convinced me to begin my studies to become a teacher in the field of Fine Arts. I finished when I was twenty-three years old. I got married at that age and moved to the U.S. I decided to teach traditional Mexican folklore to my family and in every community where I lived.

I am very happy about all of these decisions; because the people who learn feel important, proud, and confident about what they present in front of an audience and the public appreciates and learns about our folklore.


Certificate Oregon Youth Authority Hillcrest Youth Correctional Facility (2010, 2011, 2013)

Participation Award, Fall Festival Corvallis (2004–2012)

Certificate of Achievement, 4-H (2011)

Certificate of Appreciation, 4-H (2006-2011)

Certificate Group at Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility (2011)

4-H Certificate (2000-2010, 2011)

Sunny Brook Dairy Award, Outstanding 4-H Leader, Associated Projects, Benton County (2011)

Certificate of Service–4-H Volunteer Leader (2009)

State Fair Salem Certificate (2009)

4-H Pin (2003, 2007)

Linn Benton Hispanic Advisory Committee Certificate Recognition (2005, 2008)

Certificate Recognition, Cinco de Mayo/Latin Committee Boardman (1997–2000)

Certificate of Fiesta Mexicana, 4-H Community Service Award