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A Seamstress' Story

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Jalisco style dresssesIt seems folklorico is in the blood of Luz del Carmen Galaz.

She learned how to make folklorico dresses from her mother when she was 16 years old. Her son performs folklorico, as do three of her grandchildren.

She first began working as a seamstress from home as a way to stay close to her children.

Galaz has been the seamstress for over 30 years now. She began working as the seamstress for the Ballet Folklorico San Juan over a decade ago.

Galaz makes 15 different types of costumes for a variety of folklorico dances. She makes dresses for dancers of all ages, male and female.

A single dress can take up to one week to complete. The Jalisco dress alone has around 20 yards of material and 200 yards of ribbon and lace. A simple practice skirt, which every dancer needs, can take a day to complete.

Galaz buys all the fabrics herself and travels to Mexico to get exactly what she wants.

“Sometimes I go to Mexico, Nogales, Hermosillo, for the fabric,” Galaz said. “The ribbons I go to Mexico to buy because they are beautiful over there, the colors and everything.”

Galaz makes each item tailored to the dancer. A dancer can require six to eight costumes, depending on the dances they perform.

“If you’re going to be investing that much money in a folklorico costume, it’s so important to have a good seamstress,” said Julie Gallego, director and founder of the Ballet Folklorico San Juan.

Gallego designs the dresses, and Galaz makes them.

“I have a specific style and then Luz makes them,” Gallego said. “It makes us markedly different from other people.”

Galaz also does tailoring, alterations, mariachi costumes and items for weddings and quinceañeras.

For Galaz, her ultimate payoff is getting to see the costumes she made on stage.

“I love it,” said Galaz.

Written by Amber Gallegos You are reading A Seamstress' Story articles

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