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Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  645 ratings  ·  159 reviews
Award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh tells the story of Amalia Hernández, dancer and founder of El Ballet Folklórico de México.
As a child, Amalia Hernández saw a pair of dancers in the town square. The way they stomped and swayed to the rhythm of the beat inspired her. She knew one day she would become a dancer.
Amalia studied ballet and modern dance u
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Abrams Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  645 ratings  ·  159 reviews

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Gorgeous book that celebrates Amalia Hernandez, the genius who founded El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. Don't miss the back matter. ...more
I was looking forward to Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México given all the buzz about it and my own personal love of dance. I have even seen the Ballet Folklorico perform in person (they were wonderful, of course!) However, I was underwhelmed by the book. I felt it lacked pizazz. It didn't really give me a feel for Amalia's personality. I also wondered about her family background and how she was able to get the famous dancers as instructors at such a young age. I'm sorry ...more
Laura Harrison
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. Duncan Tonatiuh is so uniquely creative. Great story, fantastic illustrations. Is it award worthy? You bet it is.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m not usually inclined to read children’s books, but I read this one because it won the Américas Award this year for children’s literature. It is a beautiful, simple telling of the story of Amalia Hernández and her dedication to the folkloric dance traditions of México and her creation of the Ballet Folklórico de México.

Tonatiuh writes and illustrates his own books, and his artistic style is perhaps the most beautiful I’ve seen in a while. He intentionally creates two-dimensional characters w
Jessica Santana
This picture book biography provides detailed information about the upbringing of Amalia Hernandez and her ties to the Ballet Folklorico dance culture. Amalia, who grew up thinking she was going to be teacher, was inspired by dancers in her town square one day and knew that someday she would be a dancer too. She began studying about different types of dance and even traveled throughout Mexico, learning about regional dances. She eventually founded her own dance company, El Ballet Folklorico de M ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Who doesn't love a book by Duncan Tonatiuh? I just love the way he draws people's faces. In this book he recounts the life of Amalia Hernandez, a dancer who studied ballet and modern dance before discovering traditional folklore danzas. She incorporated them into the ballet and modern dances she choreographed to form new dances and folkloric ballets. She also borrowed the traditional costumes worn by the traditional dancers to make her danzas more authentic. In 1952 she founded the Ballet Folklo ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
This bored me. There's probably nothing wrong with it, and it's likely to be popular in libraries trying to 'diversify,' but I didn't find it engaging, nor do I personally care for the pictures or feel educated or enriched by them. I tried. Sorry. ...more
Edward Sullivan
A wonderfully written and illustrated admiring picture book biography with great attention to detail.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Danza! Amalia Hernandez and El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico is a biography about the life of Mexican dancer Amalia Hernandez. This book tells the story of Amalia, Ami’s, life and how she was first inspired to start dancing when she was on vacation in Mexico and saw dancers dancing in the town square. After that she decided she was going to become a dancer and began studying ballet and then modern dance. Ami became a dance teacher and a choreographer and created ballets based on the folkloric danc ...more
I knew absolutely nothing about Amalia Hernandez, who founded El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, before reading this book. As a young girl, Ami had become fascinated with dance and studied ballet. She trained hard, and eventually became a choreographer fascinated with modern and traditional dance forms. After traveling the country and making note of traditional dances and costumes, she created her own dance performances and hired her own performers. Eventually, the dancers traveled across the globe ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spring-2018
This story was an informational text in that it is a non-fiction story telling of the life of Amalia Hernandez and El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. It tells about her experience as a young girl, encouraged to become a teacher, but falling in love with the Danza dancing. She went on to be what she had always dreamed and even became a teacher for the things she found joy and passion in.
I would use this story in grades 4th or 5th, but would say that there needs to be a little more instruction with
No matter where you go in the world in any given point in history, people are dancing. Some have to do it secretly but they dance. Some movements and steps are particular to a specific region. Other styles are more popular with individual age groups. Certain dance forms can cross cultural boundaries, recognized and practiced throughout the world.

If people wish to express sorrow or loss, observe a holiday or celebrate an event in their family or community, they dance. Some people dance for the sh
Stephen Adams
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Text to world.
A connection between the book read and something in the world that the reader does not have a direct connection with.

In this book there are numerous different festive native dances and costumes. As someone living in the Midwest with a family not focused on their ancestral culture, this has always interested me. Seeing and reading about the old dances reminds me of hearing about rain dances in the middle of large drum circles beating them into a frenzy. The colorful costumes make me
Abby Johnson
Duncan Tonatiuh gives readers another glimpse into Mexican history with his biography of Amalia Hernandez, creator of the Mexican Folkloric Ballet and preserver of Mexico's folk dances. The subject matter is interesting and well-presented. Tonatiuh uses his signature stylized illustrations, based on pre-Columbian Mexican art. I particularly loved the effect of the digital collaging on the dancers' costumes throughout the book. It gives the appearance of lush fabric.

Reading this book made me wan
This fascinating picture book biography tells the story of Amalia Hernandez, who founded a ballet company in Mexico that is dedicated to performing dances that celebrate the indigenous cultures of the country. Born 100 years ago, Amalia became fascinated with the dancers that she had seen performing in the town square. She grew up studying ballet with the best teachers that could be found and eventually created her own dances for her group. There are numerous videos of this dance company on YouT ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful portrait of Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México -- a person I did not know, and a dance company I was unfamiliar with -- but, I am so glad to know about them now. Duncan Tonatiuh's marvellous illustrations and his excellent storytelling style make this a book not to miss, especially if you, like me, want to see folk culture celebrated and brought into a place where it can continue to thrive and grow. ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The illustrations carry this book. The story is a little dry but the illustrations are SO engaging that they keep you reading.
Kara Garcia
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Danza! -- 2018 Americas Award Winner

Text to self: The part that I connected to in this text was when Tonatiuh talked about Ami getting hooked on dancing. (2017, p. 2) I wasn’t a kid when I got hooked to dancing, but it still happened. I fell in love with dancing (ballroom dancing) when Dancing with the Stars began airing on TV. By chance, I went to a group ballroom class and fell in love with it, and took ballroom, latin, and swing dancing lessons for the next 5 years. What’s clear is that in th
Ivy Armitage
As part of a Fine Arts crossover on dancing, I selected the following Twin Text.
Nonfiction book- Danza! Analia Hernandez and El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico by Duncan Tonatiuh. Fiction book- A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey.
I chose to pair these two books because they both have the common theme of dancing. The main characters in both books are little girls that dream of becoming professional dancers when the grow up. Danza! Is the biography of Amalia Hernandez who
Ben Truong
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. It is a biographical picture book of Amalia Hernández – a Mexican dancer.

Mid-September to Mid-October, at least in my part of the world is Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month, which I plan to read one children's book, particularly a biography, which pertains to the subject everyday this month. Therefore, I thought that this book would be apropos for today.
Amalia Hernánd
Jiahui Z
Danza! is a 2018 America's Award winner. It tells the story of Amalia Hernandez and her journey as a ballet dancer. The story highlights her journey from a child learning to dance to starting a dance company to having her own dance studio. This book presents the theme of hard work and dedication. Throughout the story it can be seen that Amalia's dedication to dance and hard work allowed her to get opportunities, such as choreographing a dance in 1952, she may not have gotten without those two tr ...more
Rachael Boyt
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Author: Duncan Tonatiuh
Illustrator: Duncan Tonatiuh
Genre: Diverse
Awards: 2018 Américas Award Winner, Booklist Top 10 Diverse Nonfiction for Older and Middle Readers: 2018, CCBC Choices 2018 Choice: The Arts, CSMCL Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2017, New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2017
Audience: 1st-5th grade

Amalia Hernández was born in Mexico City and expected to become a school teacher, but she fell in love with dance. Danza! Follows her life journey as she excels on the s
Lin Lin
Amalia Hernandez, (1917 to 2000) Mexican folklore dancer and choreographer, pursued her dream of becoming a ballerina with determination and tenacity. She combined ballet, modern dance, and folk danza to create new forms of art to represent indigenous history of her country and dazzle the world with a diverse repertoire of dances. Her abilities to dance, manage her dance troupe, coordinate overseas performances, conduct a dance school, and promote Mexican traditions and history inspire everyone ...more
May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book about the originator of the baile folklorico in Mexico. Love the training and variety of danzas Amalia learned and taught to her dancers, love the cultural institution she founded and its spread to the world.
In this biography of Amalia Hernández and her inspiration to found a dance company that became known as El Ballet Folklórico de México. Mr. Tonatiuh pays homage to the woman, her art, and the culture that influenced both.

He created the art by hand-drawing the images and then collaging them digitally. It makes for a very dramatic and distinctive presentation.

I love that the author included pronunciation guides for those who do not speak Spanish and who may not be sure how to say the names, locati
Barbara Lovejoy
May 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a DELIGHTFUL and informative book! I learned many new things.
The biography of Amalia Hernandez and her creation of El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico.

Colorful illustrations bring to life the story of Amalia and her
Duvia Ortega
Apr 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing
It brought a lot of memories when i wanted to be in a Danza but never actually got to do it.
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it

When I saw this book, I knew I had to read it! As a child, I danced ballet folklorico and to this day enjoy watching dancers perform this artform. Ballet Folklorico is a big part of Mexican culture so I never gave it thought about its origins. This book book recounted the woman that brought the different dances from around Mexico and made it the staple dance of the country. What I really loved about this book was how the illustrations mimicked the Aztec/Mayan art style. They were a reminder t
Amy Layton
Whenever I read one of Duncan Tonatiuh's books, I always learn something new, fascinating, and exciting.  This book was no exception.  In Danza!, he biographies Amalia Hernandez, the creator and choreographer of the most successful and world-renowned dance troupes in Mexico.  With his usual charming illustrations and tone of voice, he creates a world for us to dive into and to learn from.  Not only do we get to learn about Hernandez, but we get to learn about different regions and dance styles i ...more
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I was born in Mexico City and grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I received my BFA from Parsons School of Design and my BA from Eugene Lang College, both of them divisions of the New School University in New York City.

My first picture book "Dear Primo, a letter to my cousin" is published by H N Abrams and will be in stores March 1st, 2010.

My illustrations of the AH1N1 in Mexico were selecte

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