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Dark-eyed senoritas in voluminous skirts and handsome caballeros in tight, nail-studded pants and wide-brimmed hats, clatter through intricate Latin rhythms while the mariachi band beats out sweet, hot music. If this isn't the way Mexico is, it's the way it ought to be.

The Ballet Folklorico, which has been catering to this image of ideal Mexico for more than 25 years, has its message down to a science. Take a liberal sprinkling of mythology and Indian history, add a few carnivals, showcase authentic dances from several sections of the country in peppy choreography, and wind up with a rousing Mexican hat dance.Clothe all this in some of the most beautiful costumes in captivity, add excellent musicians, good sound and smooth-running continuity of professional caliber, and you have a show hard to resist. Attendance was ample at Tuesday's concert and audience satisfaction complete, judging from the volume of cheers and clapping.

Perhaps the most beautifully dressed and stylish of all were the mythical dances. The company opened with "Tenochtitlan," which represented the Aztec race in search of the symbolic sign that would tell them where to build their city (foundation of present-day Mexico City). With proud and fearless carriage the dancers represented the Indians, then eagles with feathered wings, and the serpents which figured prominently in this legend.

Even more striking was "The Con-cheros," with its rich robes and high feather headdresses, a three-part sequence of ritual movement celebrating both prehistoric gods and the Catholic God. Much compulsive jumping and stamping, circling forward and backward, intricate footwork and beautiful patterns of movement by the large troupe culminated in an amazing turning step for couples, with inside legs interlocked and inside arms across each others' shoulders.

"Zacatecas" was a loosely knit sequence from north-central Mexico showing the progression from Revolution and destruction to good. In it, Hernandez incorporates not only Spanish but French and Austrian influences, brought by the Emperor Maximilian. Thus girls in demure flowered skirts and their partners delightfully demonstrated circle and line dancing almost Tyrolean in nature, though set to Latin rhythms.

Riders on little "horses" made a spirited cavalry charge, and men and women in big Pancho Villa hats continued the violent conflict. Peace came with the Rope Dance, an amazing display by a man and his partner, joined by a dozen more couples in flirtatious movement, sometimes veiled by big shawls.

The flaw of Hernandez and her company is a refusal to do anything slow or soft. Everything is king-size, fast-moving and loud, and often repetitious to a fault; hence much of the romance of Mexico's seductive rhythms is dissipated.

Overproduction is another frequent trap. Thus the famous Yaqui Dance of the Deer was overpowered by a bevy of energetic hunters. And while the deer himself skillfully depicted fawnlike movements and wariness, he was not allowed to be shot and die - the affecting climax for most deer dancers.

Carnivals abounded, such as "Festivity in Tlactalpan," featuring the famed celebration of the Candalaria Virgin, with many fandangos and a crescendo of movement, culminating in a parade of comic and grotesque figures a la Disneyland.

"Feria de Carnival en Tlaxcala" combined rock, jazz and Latin rhythms in a little ballet, a U.S. premiere whose high points were a dance with umbrellas for the men, a seductive tango, bullfighters (female) and picador, the delightful dance of the ribbons in which a couple ties a bow knot with their feet, and a concluding spirited jota.

Yet some of the evening's most enjoyable moments were in the pure dancing of showcase numbers, such as dances of Michoacan, with their ceaseless maracas keeping the rhythm, and women in gorgeous skirts demonstrating the intricate footwork of Mexico. The skilled singers, guitarists and percussionists of Folklorico offered many welcome interludes, as well as ideal accompaniment.