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. She grouped the traditional dances accordingly to states and 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 people of Mexico - such as the Aztecs. Ancient dances were performed barefoot and costumes had elaborated feathered headpieces.
Some dances have European influence and you'll see polka, waltz, jota Aragonesa, and schotis steps - even some dances may remind you of American Square Dancing. Especially, at the northern region of México you will see cuadrillas. Like USA, Mexico was settled by many people from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Each immigrant has left his or her mark.
There is a list of resources on the right for those who would like to learn more about the Ballet Folklorico dances and its founder Mexican dancer Amalia Hernandez.
Interactive Map of Mexico, including state boundaries by Tony Burton
Danza!: Amalia Hernández and Mexico's Folkloric Ballet by Duncan Tonatiuh, a beautifully illustrated children's book available in English and Spanish.
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.