With boys and girls aged 7-14 performing, these students are part of a tradition and program that has been running for more than a decade at Longfellow, a Spanish-language immersion magnet school.
"Thank you to Gloria Cota, parent and Ballet Folklorico volunteer for setting up the event," said Ernest Remillard, Pacific Beach Middle School Principal.
Escuela Longfellow Ballet Folklorico is a parent-volunteer enrichment program that brings the Mexican and Spanish cultures to the students, who are learning the language through Longfellow's Spanish-language immersion program. It's been a part of the school's fabric for more than 12 years, with Vivana Enrique from Muevete Dance Studio as the instructor.
"I have had the privilege to coordinate this program at our school with amazing parent volunteers for the last ten years," said Cota. "Parents Christine Pilger and Valerie Gordon, Cherisa Archuleta, Carla Valdovinos and Myra Woodberry are also volunteers. We are overseen by our on site Resource Teacher Josie Ramirez."
The diversity of the school is definitely portrayed in the dance group that ranges in ages from 6-13 (grades 1-8).
"We have dancers in our group that started in kindergarten and are now at middle school age," said Cota. "We started with a group of 19 students and have grown into 48 students and have added an extra day to accommodate the demand."
Public performances are scheduled after each eight-week practice section.
"Each session always portrays a different region with different costumes and cultural awareness of that region," she said. "We perform at our school functions, Dia de los Muertos for the fall session, Cesar Chavez assemblies, spring open house and the year-end Multicultural Festival. The core group that performs at outside the school functions is our advanced group that has been dancing together for the last 4-8 years together.
"Other performances include Mesa College Festival of Colors, UCSD and we have been invited to perform at next year's Latino Film Festival."
For more information on the program, contact Longfellow K-8 Principal Diana Sanchez at (619) 276-4206.