From the little nuggets of information Aunt Janie shared with me on the phone, I could already tell that whatever my research uncovered was going to blow me away. The next day, I woke up with a craving to learn more of the story, so I went online to search for Ballet Folklorico history. I combed the internet looking for anything I could get my hands on, but I wasn’t really finding what I had hoped. Then I realized that it was a safe bet to turn the search to our hometown newspaper.
My initial search brought up plenty of recent newspaper mentions of the Ballet Folklorico, as you might imagine. They were mostly articles about event performances that had taken place, and it made me smile to see a fresh batch of dancers in full costumes posing for photos. Some were as young as five years old! It reminded me of watching my cousin’s children proudly performing on stage years ago. As nice as it was to catch up on the group’s latest accomplishments, I wasn’t having much luck finding any articles on the their history. But I wasn’t about to give up.
I was just about to continue my history hunt on another site when something at the bottom of the page caught my eye. I saw the headline, “Folklorico Dancers Prepare For Tour.” My first thought was that they were referring to something recent, but when I clicked on the link, what appeared in front of me shook me to the core. Right in front of me was an archived copy of a Victoria Advocate article from 1970. The screen was a zoomed in tight on this nearly 50 year-old article and to say I was intrigued would be an understatement. I began to zoom out on the page to get a better perspective on what I was looking at and the photo accompanying the article, though distorted, began to emerge. At first all I could see was a young lady, but in less than a second I knew I was looking at my Aunt Maria! As I zoomed out even more, there, looking back at me, were my Aunt Maria and Aunt Bea twirling around on stage! Even though I was by myself at the time, I began looking around the room yelling, “Look what I found!” as I pointed at the computer.
Once my shock subsided, I started to actually read the article. It was about how the dancers were preparing for a tour to perform in Washington D.C. and several other east coast states. And it included an incredible synopsis of the group’s humble beginnings as well as some of the accomplishments and honors they had received. This immense sense of wonder and pride grew within me with every sentence I read. Adding to my surprise, I read that among the list of dancers heading out east on tour were three of my aunts, one uncle, and my grandmother as chaperone!
I was so impressed by the list of accomplishments and honors the group had earned. Knowing that members of my family, most of them in their teens, had been a part of something so amazing really put a new perspective on the story for me and I began seeing people I love with new eyes.
I could not believe I had never heard about this tour or the honors they had earned. Reading this article has made me even more curious to find out what else I didn’t know about the Ballet Folklorico. And it reinforced to me that these are some amazing stories that need to be shared. I can’t wait to get back to Texas and start talking with everyone!
Click Here To Learn More About My Ballet Folklorico Documentary Project And Find Out How You Can Help With The Production!