St. Mary's Ballet Folklorico was established in 1974, at the request of many parents, by Petra Lopez, Mary L. Hernandez, Juan Jose Ruiz de la Torre, Jose Pepe Roa and with the assistance and encouragement of the Pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Father E. Connally. The parents, wishing to educated their children in their Mexican culture and heritage helped the Folklorico expand. Therefore, the Folklorico, a non-profit corporation registered through the State of California, moved to their present rehearsal site at Orangewood High School, with the help of past Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Wheeler. Delores N. Cortez assumed the role of Director at this point. Delores, assisted by Rosa Gonzales as Music Coordinator, and many parents who volunteered their time and efforts in the preservation of the Folklorico, helped to bring the Mexican culture, through dance and music, to the children of our community. Delores has continued through the years researching various aspects of dance, costume, music and the history of Mexico. Through this research and with the assistance of her daughters, Jenna and Elizabeth, St. Mary’s has achieved a distinct individuality and uniqueness. These qualities are apparent in all the beautiful costumes Delores has designed and created.
Our current Director is Ryan Rainbolt, however; over the last 40 years we have had several Directors: Mary Hernandez, Elena (Hernandez) Gonzales, Anna Gonzales, Matthew Cortez and Delores Cortez. Delores has been the constant in St. Mary’s Ballet Folklorico. She is the only founding member of St. Mary’s that has consistently been a contributing member of the Folklorico for the entire 40 years; even through the diagnosis and fight against breast cancer. The members of the Folklorico are educated not only in the fine art of dance, but also in the history and folklore of Mexico and its evolution. History is brought to life for our dancers as they learn of the sorrow and triumphs of their own people through the past, and depict history through dance in the present. In addition our dancers develop a strong sense of self, responsibility for themselves and others and they develop confidence, all of which prepare them to be successful as they move into the future.
The pride we have in our children, and our heritage is present in our every performance. We hope to convey this joy, pride and excitement in the Mexican culture rich with history and folklore through each performance.
We would like to thank all the dancers and parents, past and present, the businesses, and charitable organizations, for their support through the years.