Ballet Folklorico Founder Named Grand Marshal of 2018 Fiestas Patrias in Aurora

Ballet Folklorico Founder Named Grand Marshal of 2018 Fiestas Patrias in Aurora

Longtime Aurora resident and founder of the popular Ballet Folklórico Quetzalcóatl, Juan Manuel “Nery” Cruz, has been named the Grand Marshal of the 2018 Fiestas Patrias Parade.

For more than three decades, Cruz has dedicated countless hours to inspiring the youth of Aurora and keeping them connected to their cultural roots. A nationally recognized Mexican folk dance troupe, Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl strives to give its members a place where they can learn to dance and study their heritage.

“Nery is one of those unsung heroes in our community who doesn’t seek the spotlight,” said Mayor Richard R. Irvin. “In fact, he strives to put the spotlight on his students in Ballet Folklórico Quetzalcóatl as often as possible. Consequently, he has empowered them with self-confidence, self-determination and the will to achieve in all aspects of life. It is most fitting that he leads our 2018 Fiestas Patrias Parade.”

Born in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, Cruz moved to Aurora at 18 years old. Building upon his love for folklore dancing, he studied dance at the Potosino Institute of Fine Arts.

After joining St. Therese Church in Aurora, Cruz began to practice with the church’s dance group. With a small committed team of dancers, that group evolved into what is known today as the world-class Ballet Folklórico Quetzalcoatl.

In 1983, at the group’s first year anniversary, Cruz baptized his new ballet with the name Quetzalcóatl and has been inspiring youth to dance with passion and dream with pride for the last 35 years.

Ballet Folklórico Quetzalcóatl will celebrate its 35th anniversary on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Aurora’s historic Paramount Theatre.

Cruz was honored the Aurora City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 11.


The Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board and the Aurora Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the city of Aurora, will present its annual Fiestas Patrias Festival, celebrating the cultures, tastes and sounds of Mexico with family activities, food and a variety of local, regional and national entertainers.

Fiestas Patrias takes place from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16 at the intersection of Lincoln and Spring Streets in Aurora. Admission is free for all guests with additional carnival and ride tickets available on site.

The Fiestas Patrias Parade, led by Grand Marshal Juan Manuel “Nery” Cruz, will step off at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16, from the corner of River Street and Benton Street. It will travel east on Benton, north on Broadway and west on Downer Place. The Reviewing Stand will be located near the corner of Downer Place and Stolp Avenue.

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SOURCE: city of Aurora news release