Dance in Mexico
Mexico’s diverse dance traditions have roots in Native American, African American and Spanish culture. In the field of scenic dance, especially classical ballet, the influence has come partly from Europe and the United States, and in recent decades partly from Cuba. Among the country’s oldest dance companies is Compañía Nacional de Danza Clásica, which has an ensemble of 80-120 dancers and was formerly known by the names Ballet de Cámera and Ballet Clásico. The most important ensemble in modern dance is the Ballet Nacional de México, founded in 1949, which has approx. 20 dancers. The ensemble, which is touring all over the world, places emphasis on performing works by Mexican choreographers, the leaders of which are Luis Fandino, Federico Castro, Jaime Blanc and Rosana Filomareno.
However, the best known of the professional Mexican companies is the Ballet Folklórico de México, which builds its repertoire on folk dance, strongly adapted to a scenic performance. The ensemble was originally affiliated with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes at the National University of Ciudad de México. The founder is Amalia Hernández, the individual who has been most important to the dance in Mexico after the Second World War. In addition to the main company, which has close to 200 dancers, a smaller company has also been formed. Hernández is also behind the creation of the company Ballet Clásico 70. One of the most famous modern dance ensembles is Ballet Independiente, founded in 1966 by Raul Flores Canelo (died 1992); he left behind more than 30 choreographic works. In addition, several smaller companies based on modern dance technique exist, there are classical ensembles both in Monterrey and Guadalajara, and on an amateur basis there are a number of folk dance groups throughout the country. Dance is a popular art form in Mexico. The country has a number of good dance schools as well as its own Departmento de Danza at the National University.