Review of Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México

Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México
by Duncan Tonatiuh; illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    32 pp.
8/17    978-1-4197-2532-6    $18.95
e-book ed.  978-1-68335-110-8    $15.54

Tonatiuh (Separate Is Never Equal, rev. 7/14; Funny Bones, rev. 11/15) tells the story of Amalia Hernández (1917–2000), founder of Mexico’s most famous dance company, El Ballet Folklórico de México, which still performs today. As a child Hernández was inspired by a danza (“a dance that is performed for an audience or one that has ceremonial purposes”) she witnessed while on vacation with her family. Hernández’s parents were supportive and gave her opportunities to study ballet; she later learned modern dance. As a young woman she traveled throughout Mexico learning about different regions’ unique danzas, histories, and traditions in order to incorporate them into dance; she founded El Ballet Folklórico de México in 1952. Tonatiuh’s recognizable illustration style, inspired by Mixtec art and with well-chosen photo-collage elements on costumes and accessories, is particularly resonant with a subject whose own desire was to preserve and celebrate Mexican arts and culture. A beautiful look at one of Mexico’s most cherished institutions.

From the September/October 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez
Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez is currently an Assistant Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College. She received her PhD in English from the University of California Riverside. Her research focuses on Latinx children’s and young adult literature. She is a contributing blogger for Latinx in Kid Lit (

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