Culture - The Background & Stories of Ballet Folklorico
Ballet Folklorico consists of the traditional folk dances of Mexico. The dances were "collected" by Amalia Hernandez, the founder of this school of dance, and she grouped them according to states or regions of Mexico.
The dances encompass the history, geography, traditions and most particularly the influences of the people who lived in the region where their dances originated. Each region has costumes that also reflect this heritage.
Some dances, therefore, have indigenous roots and reflect the ceremonies and stories of the earliest peoples of Mexico - such as the Aztecs. Dances from these areas may be performed barefoot and costumes may have elaborate feathered headpieces
Dances from Sinaloa, are influenced by the tropical climate of coastal Mexico and dances have African and Caribbean themes.
Watch carefully and you'll see polka and waltz influences - even dances that may remind you of American Square Dancing. Like America, Mexico was settled by many people from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Each immigrant has left his or her mark.
There are a list of resources on the right for those who would like to learn more about the dances of Ballet Folklorico and its founder Mexican dancer Amalia Hernandez.
Dancing Throughout Mexican History (1325-1910) by Sanjuanita Martinez-Hunter, Edited by Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia, a comprehensive overview of Mexican dance by region and era.