MESA, Ariz. — At the Ballet Folklórico Quetzalli dance studio in Mesa, students bring Mexican traditions and cultures to life through movement and their colorful outfits while passing the dances on through the generations.
Vanessa Ramirez has been dancing ballet Folklorico since she was seven years old.
"My mom would take me to the park on Saturdays to play in the playground, but I traded the playground for Folklorico shoes and skirts," Ramirez said.
Today, she's the executive director at the Quetzalli dance studio. Here, she weaves old Hispanic tales through dancers like Grizelda Celaya. Celaya said coming to Quetzalli makes it easier to connect with her Hispanic roots.
"Oftentimes people don't get any of that connection and that's why they go to a show, and you get to the feel that connection to the audience with the mariachis," she said.
While performing ballet Folklorico, Celaya learns all kinds of different stories across the regions of Mexico.
There are dances from the state of Veracruz, an old and famous Mexica shipping port, and Baja California, unraveling the stories of grapes and wine country.
There are dances from the state of Jalisco too.
"It's very colorful because Mexico is very colorful," Ramirez said. "We Mexicans are very colorful in the way we speak and the way we dance."
The timeless movements, re-engage with long-time ballet Folklorico fans, and introducing audiences new to the historic dance.
"That's our responsibility to learn that and to pass it down to the next generation. And, personally, that love for the art form brings even more importance to me," Celaya said.
Hispanic Heritage Month
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with 12 News as we tell stories from the community from September to October.