By Belle Vang, COSS Communications Student Assistant
Dr. Victor Torres, Chicano & Latin American Studies (CLAS) Professor, proudly celebrates his heritage all year round in the professional and artistic activities he engages in. He highlights his heritage through his classes, focusing on social, economic, and political experiences in the Hispanic community.
Dr. Torres actively implements his heritage into his daily life, but is grateful for celebrations like National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM) that shine a light on and appreciates the Hispanic community, especially during a time of great socio-economic and socio-political obstacles.
An example of how Torres keeps his heritage alive all year round is through his passion for Mexican folkloric dance.
Torres is the director of the popular on-campus dance group, Los Danzantes de Aztlán, and has guided them through honorable performances such as the World Arts West–San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. He speaks on the resiliency of the Hispanic culture and the power that comes from sharing the experience of dance.
“It is through Mexican folkloric dance that I inculcate my children with the values of respect, commitment, hard work, professionalism, and humility–values firmly embedded in Hispanic culture.”
Torres also likes to reminisce on his childhood and share those memories with his children like his favorite Mexican candy.
“There are several Mexican candies that, when I come across them, bring back childhood memories. I remember frequently having a Saladito (dried, salted plum) in my mouth. Saladitos were THE sour candy of their time. I remember cringing as the extremely sour taste hit my taste buds. Of course, with over 4,000 grams of sodium they are extremely bad for your health. I stopped eating them a long time ago. However, I am always tempted to try “just one” when I see them, but I know it is never “just one.”
“The other childhood Mexican candy that I enjoyed was the Cajeta – caramel candy. Unlike saladitos, Cajeta was sweet and smooth. It is usually encased by two very thin wafers, making it look like a caramel sandwich. Cajeta was more of a luxury candy, usually on a Sunday after church.”
Through dance, Torres continues to implement the tradition of excellence and professionalism to encourage students of all backgrounds to participate in the Mexican folkloric troupe. He’s instilled a passion for Mexican folkloric dance in his family–not simply as a form of entertainment but as a way of life.
“What we do for ourselves we take to the grave. What we do for others continues long after we are gone.” -Dr. Manuel Gomez
Los Danzantes de Aztlan
Facebook: /losdanzantesdeaztlan | Instagram: @losdanzantesdeaztlan | Twitter: @danzantesdeaztlan