AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s a form of storytelling passed on from generation to generation through dance, colorful outfits and undeniable rhythm.
“I’m a firm believer when you dance folklorico Mexican folk dancing, you’re actually dancing and spreading the word from so many countries,” said Yolanda Sanchez, who started Round Rock Ballet Folklorico in 1988.
Sanchez worked as a school bus driver for decades and taught folklorico at night. It was her way of giving back to students and teaching them about the culture she grew up celebrating through folklorico.
“We are so rich when it comes to that. We are so rich when it comes to our cultures and our beliefs, in our songs, and in our outfits,” she said. “That is so important to me, we have to celebrate it! I’m sorry we just have to!”
Every detail about ballet folklorico tells a powerful story, Sanchez explained, from the outfits to the shoes.
“The outfit tells the audience what the region is like, and the footwork as well, it tells you the story,” she said.
Among the 75 dancers is her daughter, Selicia Sanchez-Adame. She’s been following her mother’s footsteps and dancing folklorico for decades.
“You just feel the pride that takes you to another level and to share that with the audience — is the one thing I cherish every time I step up on stage.”
“I always tell my students, ‘Be proud of who you are, carrying that chin up high. Set your goals,'” Sanchez said.
She retired from the school district but is still teaching folklorico.
“Hopefully, they remember me as someone who was able to introduce to them a little bit to their heritage that we should be so proud of,” she said.
Round Rock Ballet Folklorico performs all over Central Texas. Learn more on its website.