Children embrace ballet folklorico's beauty inside and out

GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- Culture. Passion. Confidence. Just a few words to describe what dancing ballet folklorico means to the children and families at Horace Mann Elementary School in Glendale.

About 40 students come alive by dancing with a new found confidence after joining the school's ballet folklorico enrichment program. The cultural classes were started in 1995 by a mother-and-daughter duo.

"My mom has been a teacher here since 1994... I was brought into dance as part of a cultural celebration here at the school and the kids were so excited about that we decided to make it a full time after school program," Chrissy Padilla said.

Folklorico has a story in every dance that's performed. Everything that the children do in this dance has a reason.

"I love ballet folklorico- it's a great experience, it's been amazing. It's been incredible, how many things you can do to show your culture," student Nataly Banuelos said.

The parents also see the positive effects this dance group has had on the kids.

"My daughter is in ballet folklorico. She joined last year, she loved it. She's a very shy girl. It's helped her along, it's made her more confident," mother Mariana Zamora said.

"My daughter's name is Itzul Guerra, and she's always dancing around the house "mom, we learned this step today and this is how we are going to do this" there's always tap, tap, tap on the flooring," mother Angelica Guerra said.

The folklorico group has achieved great success and has even won national competitions.

However, since most of the children come from undeserved communities, not all of them are able to participate. They also don't have enough costumes for everyone, yet the kids remain hopeful.

"We really love dresses so we could all participate in this really amazing dance," Banuelos said.

"They're pushing their own limits and realizing that they can push beyond that and excel at whatever they put their minds to," Padilla expressed.
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