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The Late Raul Chavez Portillo Leaves Behind 'A Lineage & A Heritage' Hundreds Of Years Old

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) - Raul Chavez Portillo brought a tradition dating back more than 500 years and leaves behind an impact on Colorado that will last for generations. Portillo passed away in early May and was laid to rest during a vibrant celebration at Crown Hill Mortuary on Thursday.

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"Raul Chavez Portillo came to Colorado in 1969, and he comes from a very long tradition of conchero dancing," said Dr. Renee Fajardo with the Chicano Humanities Art Council. "The concheros started in about 1550s. Their tradition goes way back. They took and preserved and hid within their dances and traditions the sacred prayers and dances of the Aztec warriors. What he brought with him here was a lineage and a heritage so he was able to teach and to give all of his teaching to connect them back into Mexico. "

Portillo isn't just credited with bringing the traditional form of Dance to Colorado but helping it grow within the Chicano community.

"He means to the community, hope. There's hope here for our culture," dancer Anna Martinez said about Portillo. "Like a grandfather figure to me. He didn't just teach me he cared for me as well."

"Raul to me was somebody very special somebody very welcoming to his circle. He made us all feel comfortable. We're all the same, we're all equal nobody is more nobody is less," said dancer Jose Pedro Martinez.

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