Folklorico Sierra Linda:
years and still dancing
Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda children’s Mexican
folk dance group of Woodlake, celebrated its fourth
anniversary in March. This is no small feat as we
have had struggles over the years with securing an
adequate location for rehearsals. But this year, with
the help of Woodlake YMCA, we have a perfect location.
We are currently 26 members strong and range
in age from four to 13 years old. We are proud to
say this may be our busiest season ever.
With Cinco de Mayo still weeks away we
have a staggering 16 performances scheduled and the
calls are still coming in.
Our repertoire consists of dances from the regions
of Jalisco, Vera Cruz, Baja California Norte, and
our newest region is Norte with its traditional polkas.
In January, we performed our first hour-long show.
That is a lot of dancing for kids in
middle school and younger.
Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda prides itself on being
a community-service effort. These economic times are
especially difficult in our area.
We have never raised tuition since this
group’s inception and no one involved in the
direction or management of our group is paid for their
services. Out-of-pocket costs are kept to a minimum;
we require only the purchase of dance shoes, but if
that proves to be difficult, I do my best to connect
our parents with alternatives such as keeping and
eye on eBay and my connections with former dancers
who may have shoes for sale.
This is an issue that I will never compromise
on because I don’t ever want a child to miss
out on this experience due to expense.
My history with ballet folklorico goes back to the
early 1980s. I am proud to say that I danced with
some of the best in the industry and had the opportunity
to learn from the best.
My instructor Emilio Rivas performed
at the 1972 Olympic opening ceremonies in Munich.
You can see it on YouTube: Olympische Spiele München
1972: Eröffnungsfeier (Teil 13 von 16).
As for myself; performing for Pope John
Paul II in 1987 is my most memorable folklorico experience.
Someday I hope to find it on Youtube too!
I love this art like no other hobby and
nothing makes me happier than to share it with anyone
I would like to say a special THANK YOU
to the following people, for without them Ballet Folklorico
Sierra Linda would not be the success it is today.
Venicia Cardenas, BFSL’s booking
coordinator— She convinced me that I could teach
this class and has given her all to make it a success.
Lisa Perez— One of the most graceful
and talented dancers and maestras I know.
John Gonzales— Super maestro who
lives and breathes folklorico and has been gracious
to include BFSL in his children’s concerts.
Woodlake YMCA and Mike Flores Jr.— Thanks to
them our dancers have a safe and spacious place to
And finally to the parents of BFSL for
being such a huge support to your kids and our group
Yvonne Arroyo Sweeney
is the director and dance instructor at Ballet Folklorico
Sierra Linda. For more information, call Yvonne at
Miller Brown Park
Woodlake Rodeo Parade