"I love the excitement and passion about it and how you can express yourself in so many ways," said student Bianca Vargas.
Instructor Mark Alatorre has been teaching the ancient dance to students here for the past twelve years. For Alatorre, folklorico has been a life-long passion. "When I was 8 years old we took a trip to México and saw the Ballet of Amalia Hernandez. I fell in love with it and that's what inspired me to become a dancer."
El Ballet Folklorico de México de Amalia Hernandez has been an inspiration to many. It is arguably the most famous dance company in México, and one of that country's most highly regarded artistic ambassadors.
"Without Amalia Hernandez, China would not have seen Mexico's folklore, Russia would not have seen Mexico's folklore. We would not have been and gone to all four corners of the world," said folklorico dancer Victor Rosas.
For Rosas it was a dream come true when he auditioned and earned a spot in the celebrated dance troupe -- performing daily in front of thousands in México city's palace of fine arts. "To know that the greatest artists from Maria Callas to Pavarotti to Vicente Fernandez to Alejandro Fernandez have performed on that stage and to be on that stage -- that's incredible."
Six years ago Rosas returned home to the valley and formed his own folklorico group -- incorporating the unique style of dress and dance that Amalia Hernandez's ballet is famous for. Hernandez's artistic vision has been criticized as too theatrical and non-traditional, but admirers say the liberties she took made Mexico's folklorico dance even more appealing.
"Spectacular, colorful, its beyond traditional -- but it's because of what she's done and so many people have seen it all over the world that folklorico has grown," said Pat Gutierrez, chairman of the Danzantes del Valle Coalition.
And now it comes full circle. The dance troupe Alatorre travelled to México to see as a young boy will perform at Roosevelt High School.
"No high school in the world has ever had Amalia come to their school. It's going to give them even more inspiration to keep dancing."
Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez
Roosevelt H.S. Auditorium
Thursday, March 25, 7:00-9:00pm
Or call Arte Americas @ 266-2623