If you opened a Google tab this morning, you probably noticed the gorgeous illustration of brightly colored folklorico dancers performing as fun confetti falls around them. This particular drawing honors a truly remarkable woman, Amalia Hernandez, who's creativity and passion for the arts forever changed ballet in Mexico. Hernandez, who was born in 1917 and passed away in 2000, would have been 100 years old today.
In life, Hernandez was both an entertainer and a teacher, who, according Google's blog began her professional choreography career at the Fine Arts National Institute teaching modern dance before she discovered her true passion: Mexican folk dances.
Over time, Hernandez harnessed her ambition and skill and created a dance style unlike the world had seen before, calling it baile folklorico. Soon after, she founded her own dance company called Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, which attracted hundreds of dancers through its gorgeous costumes and intricate choreography that artfully married the past and the present.
"The authentic folklore was created either for a religious purpose or for fun, and dancing was basically something to do and not to watch," she said. "Folklore has to be theatricalized, adapted to the need of the theater and the audience."
People all over Mexico watched the troupe dance through a weekly televised broadcast that started back in 1954, and the popularity later spread all over North America. The Los Angeles Times reports that Hernandez' she choreographed at least 40 different ballets throughout her lifetime, drawing inspiration from 60 regions of indigenous peoples nationwide, that have been performed for more than 22 million people. .
Hernandez' ballet group remains wildly popular even today. In addition to touring, the official Ballet Folklorico de Mexico offers dance classes so anyone can learn from some of the world's finest folklorico performers.