Hola amigos, y feliz Cinco de Mayo! In celebration, our book today is Danza!: Amalia Hernández And El Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh, a picture book history of Mexico’s celebrated dance company and the woman behind it.
Amalia – or Ami – Hernández grew up watching traditional local danzas, and immediately fell in love with dance. Her family supported her passion, and she studied ballet and modern dance, often choreographing numbers that incorporated the styles of traditional dance she had grown up loving as a child. Ami had a vision: she wanted to create a dance company that performed traditional danzas and bailes from across her beloved Mexico, using live musicians, elaborate costumes, and colorful sets. Hernández often combined the traditional dances with modern styles or music, creating a new style that honored Mexican tradition. Eventually, she opened her own dance school, and her Ballet Folklórico is a world-renowned dance company that performs internationally to this day.
Wonderful! If you’ve never seen a performance of baile folkórico, the dance style that Hernández created, you should absolutely take the opportunity to do so. Tonatiuh’s story and art pays lovely homage to both Amalia and her work, with a story that is told with excitement and appreciation, but never feels slow. The folk-art-inspired illustrations that are Tonatiuh’s signature shine especially bright here, bringing to life the shapes, colors, and energy of the dancers. The length is very manageable for little bookworms, and JJ adored it. A wonderful way to celebrate a mainstay of Mexican culture and art, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!