FROM THE VAULT:  Amalia Hernández 9/1/17-11/5/00: On this Cinco de Mayo I am inspired by Amalia Hernández, founder, director and choreographer of the Ballet Folklórico de México. Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated continuously in the United States since 1863 but was not nationally popularized until the 1940’s with the ascent of the Chicano movement. It is often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day but was initially to commemorated for the Mexican army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Outside of Puebla, the day has turned into a celebration of Mexican culture. Amalia Hernández through her love of dance, brought the traditions of México to life. Starting with only eight dancers in 1952, the company grew to include up to 60 dancers with pieces reflecting the traditional costumes and choreography of the differing regions of México. The company tours extensively, has recceived numerous awards, and continues to inspire and remind us, especially those of us native to the southwest, of the importance of Mexican culture to our history. Amalia Hernández brought a more detailed and nuanced portrait of Mexican culture to the forefront. Her legacy lives on in the halls of the Folkloric Ballet School in Mexico City, a school she founded and helped design. 

Photos courtesy of the Ballet Folklórico de Mexico. 

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